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News : Bendigo In-home Aged Care Service Sets Up Helpline
Oct. 3, 2014 -- A Bendigo in-home aged care service provider has started up a 24-hour helpline for elderly people with care needs following the removal of a face-to-face service on Queen Street.
The now empty shop front, which used to house the Commonwealth Carelink Centre, was set up to provide free information on care and support, disability and community services.
Care Beyond Measure's managing director Sam Tayeh said it was a place where people could walk in and talk to someone.
"It was a first point of contact for people who didn't know where to start," he said.
But he said the service closed in July when new government reforms in consumer directed care for the aged swept in.
As of July 1, the federal government's carelink centres around the country were replaced with a national hotline and website.
Mr Tayeh said the removal of the service was potentially leaving the elderly, a not-so-tech-savvy part of the population, out in the cold.
"We feel that in this age group, face-to-face contact is missed and removes them from seeking services from the start," he said.
Mr Tayeh said another issue could be the increased burden placed on their families, who might be expected to navigate the website on their behalf to help them find answers.
He said the types of questions many people had, particularly in the area of aged care reforms and what sort of funding they qualified for, were complex.
There was a lot more information in the public domain about nursing home care rather than in-home care and by not having access to face-to-face services, people seeking that sort of information might miss out, Mr Tayeh said.
"Making a decision about whether to put elderly parents in nursing home versus in-home care is a difficult decision," he said.
He said Care Beyond Measure decided to offer a 24-hour service to the Bendigo community because it understood many of these conversations were stressful, and often occurred in informal settings. "It’s an emotional conversation," Mr Tayeh said.
"If you're sitting around chatting with siblings and able to pick up the phone and have a conversation, it can alleviate some of that emotional stress," he said. "Existing clients would say that going through the process is a complex process full of anxiety and unknowns."
He believed Care Beyond Measure was the first to step in and offer such a service in Bendigo.
"At the moment the service is free, it's an attitude of let's open the door and tidy up loose ends later, we may need to grow the whole area in response to demand," he said.
"The best thing that people can do is call us then come in face-to-face, predominantly so we can help them navigate the maze.
"All we're doing is saying come and speak to us face-to-face, which is what people used to be able to do in Queen Street."
Care Beyond Measure's helpline can be reached by phoning 5445 0545.
The national Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre hotline can be reached on 1800 052 222.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, October 6, 2014