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Carers – FAQs

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Support for a carer

1. I look after my wife who has multiple sclerosis. Sometimes I get so exhausted I just want to sleep for 24 hours. Is there any help for me as her carer?

Carer Support is a service funded by the Ministry of Health to help full-time unpaid carers and support people. This service offers the carer/support person a break by helping to pay for an alternative carer to support a person for an agreed number of days. The number of days is based on an assessment of need.

Carer Support is available to the person or people providing full-time unpaid support to a person in their own or the family home. An assessment by a Needs Assessment Service Co-ordination Service (NASC) Agency will determine if the carer is eligible for Carer Support. Any full-time unpaid carer may contact a NASC agency for an assessment. An assessment of a carer's need for support will be considered alongside the needs assessment of the person they support.

Respite care for children

2. Sometimes I need a break from looking after my child who has autism – are there places where he can go which will support him and meet his particular needs?

Respite Support is designed to provide short-term breaks for carers, whilst providing a positive experience for the disabled person.

A respite service provides a safe alternative environment for a disabled person, with support staff who are able to meet the person’s disability needs. Respite support is in general designed to be:

  • of a short term duration and intermittent
  • a positive, stimulating and worthwhile experience
  • available in community settings
  • part of the support network available to a person and their carers/family/whanau
  • accessed when a carer or family/whanau member requires a short term break from their normal support/care role.

Needs assessment

3. How do I get a Needs Assessment for my family member – can I organize this as his carer?

Yes. A referral can be made to a Needs Assessment agency by the person themselves, a family/whanau member, friend or the person’s GP.

Carer support

4. How do I get Carer Support?

A number of Carer Support Days are allocated to the full-time carer of a disabled person as part of the Needs Assessment process. There is a maximum number of Carer Support Days that the full-time carer can use for a one-year period from the date of the needs assessment. The full-time unpaid carer, assessed as needing Carer Support, is generally able to choose how they use their support days, and, in most instances, co-ordinate their relief support. A person can get relief support from a respite service.

Carer Support payments are intended to be a reimbursement towards the costs of providing relief support and are not regarded as a salary or wage.

Respite care

5. How do I get respite care?

An assessment by a Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) agency is completed to determine whether a person meets the eligibility criteria for disability support services. The needs of the disabled person are identified, the amount of respite support is determined and support is provided to help those involved to find a suitable respite service.

Use of respite support may be planned so that it is used on a regular basis for a pre-arranged time period, for example, overnight once a week or every third weekend. Respite support may also be unplanned and is available in times of emergency or unforeseen event.

Care in the event of an emergency

6. What happens in the event of an emergency if I can’t look after my family member?

Respite support can be planned but is also available in times of emergency or unforeseen event.

Holiday or after school care for children

7. Can my disabled child go to holiday camps or after school programmes?

Recreate-Auckland Trust provide holiday and some after school programmes for disabled children and young people in the Auckland area. Carer Support Days may be used in some cases.

Contact your local Needs Assessment agency for information about what’s available in your area and how to use Carer Support Days.

Alternatively, contact DRC Auckland) or

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