NDIS To Roll Out in Queensland

We’ve been hearing about NDIS for some time and finally, The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will start in Queensland from 1 July 2016. This is a result of public campaigning that was announced by Julia Gillard as Prime Minister in 2011.

So how does the NDIS work?NDIS sufferer

The NDIS takes a flexible and holistic approach working with eligible participants, their families and carers, to develop individualised plans. The NDIS provides participants with more choice and control over how, when and where their supports are provided. It also provides certainty that they will receive the support they need over their lifetime. For those people suffering a disability, this is a real victory.

The NDIS works to connect participants with community and mainstream supports. The NDIS funds the additional reasonable and necessary supports to help participants pursue their goals and aspirations, and participate in daily life.

It is estimated that around 97,000 Queenslanders will be supported by the Scheme when it is fully rolled out bringing a welcome relief for not just the sufferers, but their carers and families too.

The scheme has been on trial in other States for a little while now. The roll out of the NDIS in Queensland will benefit from the experiences of the existing trial sites as well as drawing on the expertise of Queensland’s disability sector. The specific needs of Queenslanders with disability living in rural, regional and remote areas, and remote Indigenous communities will also help guide the Scheme’s delivery in Queensland.

Making Your NDIS Plan

Your NDIS plan is not a one-off event. You set your own review timetable so if your circumstances change, you can adjust your plan. You can you manage it yourself, get assistance from another person or use the NDIS agency. Your plan will list a range of supports you need to live your life to the full. Some of your supports may be arranged through our organisation with our specifically qualified staff.

Choosing your service provider:

  • Can the providers in my area can offer the kinds of supports that I may need?
  • Do the supports offered by any of the providers meet my personal needs and help me to achieve any of the goals?
  • Will the provider work to support me and respect my rights?
  • How will I control the support for me?
  • Can the provider guarantee flexibility of support that fits my life?
  • What skills and experience do their staff members have?
  • Does the provider charge a fair price?
  • Can I contact my provider at any time?
  • What do other people with disability or carers say about the quality of the support the provider delivers to them?

It’s an important decision, one that requires careful consideration and research.

Read about NDIS scheme and how you will benefit here

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Medical Cannibis Trials

Medical cannabis trials to commence in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales

The NSW Government introduced the scientific trials last year to help treat patients with drug-resistant and uncontrollable epilepsy.Medical-Cannabis1

The new agreement means Victorians and Queenslanders suffering terminal or life-threatening conditions can take part in the NSW clinical trials.

The three trials will be conducted by the Government and will examine the use of cannabis in providing relief for patients.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the focus of the trial would be for families whose children suffer from life-threatening seizures.

Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick says the clinical trials will set a framework to explore the possibility of regulated medical cannabis in the state, but the trials are dependent on the advice of medical researchers.

It is hoped that the work can be completed this year. You have to look at the different types of treatments and the different types of illnesses which are all unique. The aim is to not cut off one path for treatment of people just to get an outcome in one particular area.

The Australian Medical Association Queensland (AMAQ) said it supported scientific trials into the use of medicinal cannabis.

AMAQ president Dr Shaun Rudd said the trials would determine if it was safe. “We think it’s a great idea – we’ve always wanted to get further evidence to see if this is something that we can use, medically or not,” he said.

Hopefully with the trials we’ll find out what components of the cannabis itself is the useful ones for medical treatment.

The Queensland Government is caring enough to put money in to be able to research to hopefully find not a cure, but to ease a lot of people’s lives.

The clinical trial will be the first of its kind in Australia and part of a handful of similar studies carried out worldwide.

The medicinal cannabis will be in the form of a tincture or edible product.  Unlike street marijuana, which contains high levels of the chemical compound THC, the oil extract used in the trial will have high levels of cannabidiol or CBD, and low levels of THC.  This maximises the anti-seizure potential and decreases the risk of mind-altering psychoactive effects.

Whilst this is not a miracle cure, it appears to be a step closer to enabling those with epilepsy gain some normality in their lives.

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Avoiding Some Topics To Those That Are Sick

If our loved ones are sick, we are keen to find ways to comfort them and assist them with our best intentions. But often our great intentions are not always received and fail. Here a few guidelines to avoid conflict when offering to assist those that are sick.helping hand

DON’T ask what you can do to help!  That’s right, don’t ask just do it. Patients don’t want the burden put on them to come up with something you can do however, they do want you to do something. The dullest tasks can be the most helpful whether it’s cooking dinner, taking out the bin, replace the light bulbs, collecting the mail, taking their kids to school, or ask what you can pick up at the grocery store. Don’t ask for the direction but take the initiative.

DO say, “Do you want me to come over while you wait for test results?”

DO say, “I’m bringing dinner Thursday. Do you want lasagna or chicken?” Again, it’s usually better to just do something rather than asking for permission or direction.

DO say, “I have Monday free if you need me to run some errands or take you somewhere.”

DON’T say, “You look great.” Very sick people are aware that their hair is falling out, their skin is covered with sores, or they’ve become skeletal. Mentioning the appearance of a sick person at all just reminds them of how they look.

DO say, “Can I take your kids for a play date? My kids are bored.”

DO say, “Don’t write back.” All patients get overwhelmed with the burden of keeping everyone informed and feeling appreciated. If you write someone a thoughtful email, say that you don’t expect a reply. If you take the dog for a walk, insist the patient not write a thank you note.

DO say, “I don’t know what to say to you right now, but I truly care about you.”

DO say, “I need to leave you now.” Most sick people cannot handle long visits. Don’t overstay your welcome. Try visiting for 20 minutes, even less if the patient is tired or in pain. And while you’re there, do some of those tasks that are awaiting without burdening the patient.

DO say, “Would you like to hear some news?” A change of topic goes a long way. Patients are often sick of talking about their illness. Even someone recovering from surgery has an point of view to share and it can take the focus off their problem.

DO say, “Do you just need to talk to someone? I’m all ears!”

DO say, “I really admire how you are handling this. I know it’s difficult.”

DO say, “You are amazing.”  Again, more positive affirmation.

DO say, “I love you.” When all else fails, simple, direct emotion is the most powerful gift you can give a loved one going through pain. It doesn’t need to be fancy or fussy, it just needs to be sincere.

With these simple guidelines, the patient will look forward to your next visit and their recovery will be made much easier.

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Debilitating Arthritis

Arthritis Awareness Week (March 15 – 21) is ideal for acknowledging this debilitating disease that affects more than 3.85 million Australians. Arthritis is the broader term for a many forms of this disease with the most significant being osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. The most common symptoms involve the joints with pain, stiffness, swelling, redness and decreased motion.

Arthritis is the major cause of disability and chronic pain in Australia. Despite the perception that arthritis is something that happens when we get older, it is not a natural part of ageing with the majority of sufferers being working age. Due to their condition, they are often forced to surrender their careers.juvenile arthritis

Unfortunately, arthritis is not just restricted to elderly persons. One in every 1,000 children (or approx 6,000) in Australia suffer from Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. It is considered a chronic condition because there is no cure and joints are inflamed for at least 6 weeks but often will last for months or even years.  There are treatments available but it only masks the disease.  The good news with JIA is that the symptoms can go into remission, the duration of which varies and sometimes up to a lifetime. Up to 50 per cent of children may go into full remission before adulthood. Fortunately, there are support groups to help. Kid’s arthritis is as common as childhood diabetes and seriously under recognised and resourced. Dramatic advances in treatment for JIA in the past decade mean that much of the joint damage, deformity and disability it causes can now be prevented. But as with most diseases, the earlier the diagnosis, the better the outcome.

In a recent study by UNSW, Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) for Arthritis Australia the following key findings were made:

  • Nearly all people with arthritis experience difficulty with daily activities;
  • One third of people with arthritis are unable to manage their home or garden;
  • One in four are permanently unable to work or study due to their condition;
  • Five per cent require assistance with basic personal care, such as showering and dressing;
  • One in five experience significant hardship as a result of the added costs and/or reduced work capacity associated with their condition.

As the condition progresses, joint damage can occur, resulting in joint weakness, instability and deformities that can interfere with the most basic daily tasks, such as walking, driving a car and preparing meals.  Sometimes it can effect the eye sight too.

Fortunately, they can always reach out to our services  and ease the pain of simply just getting through the day. Since arthritis can affect people of all ages, their needs and wants will also vary but the one aspect they all require is a helping hand and support – whether it is just an hour or so or around the clock.

Arthritis Australia is the peak arthritis organisation in Australia with offices in each state. The organisation offers support and promotes awareness of the challenges facing people with arthritis to the community and to leaders in business, industry, and Government. In addition, Arthritis Australia funds research into potential causes and possible cures as well as better ways to live with arthritis. www.arthritisaustralia.com.au

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Just 2 Hours A Week

Image the difference that just 2 hours a week could make to someone you cared about?  

That is often the thought of an enquiring family member when they first see someone they care about starting to struggle with some every day tasks. It may be early onset dementia, crippling arthritis, post-hospital surgery or progressive effects of MS. It really doesn’t matter what the cause is, it matters that they are continuing to enjoy quality of life with some assistance to remain independent with respect.Caring at home post-surgery

We all live busy lives, some busier than others, but we are not all geared to being carers when someone is needing a little extra assistance. The team at Your Home Care are often asked to just give as little as 2 hours a week to help out. That is the greatest relief to many carers or loved ones.

Asking a third person to shower someone each day can give the sufferer the dignity they deserve but takes courage to reach out. Handling over the responsibility of preparing some meals to ensure they are eating well for the times you can’t be there. Knowing that the washing and cleaning was taken care of can be such a relief to family members that feel burdened with the job. The peace of mind that someone will oversee the medication required to keep their loved ones at home. Just assurance that the person is getting the necessary rest to recuperate after surgery or during intensive therapy, is priceless.

Often our carers start with just 2 hours a week with their clients but many have realised that there is more to benefit from having the person around and may increase the hours as the confidence and relationship grows. The loved one that is suffering at home is then able to remain at home, the family are happier knowing that they are receiving the care they require and our carers are passionate about ensuring the client’s best quality of life and comfort at all times. And when you start with a specific carer, that is the very person that will be with you each and every visit, throughout your time of need. That’s a real assurance and peace of mind.

So, just 2 hours a week? What a difference that could make!


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Heat Related Illness

Summer is here and for some, it means getting really hot under the collar. Heat stress occurs when our body is unable to cool itself enough to maintain a healthy temperature. Normally, the body cools itself by sweating, but sometimes sweating isn’t enough and the body temperature keeps rising. Heat-related illness can range from mild conditions such as a rash or cramps to very serious conditions such as heat stroke which can kill if not observed.heat stress

Over exertion in hot weather and exercising or working in hot, poorly ventilated or confined areas can increase your risk of heat stress. You don’t have to be outside to suffer heat stress. Heat can also make an existing medical condition worse, for example heart disease.

Anyone can suffer from heat-related illness, but those most at risk are:

  • People over 65 years, particularly those living alone or without air conditioning
  • Young children (including babies), pregnant and nursing mums
  • People who are physically unwell, especially with heart disease, high blood pressure or lung disease
  • Some people on medications for mental illness.

Elderly people are more prone to heat stress than younger people because their body may not adjust well to sudden or prolonged temperature change. They are also more likely to have a chronic medical condition and be taking medication that may interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature.  Depending on the elderly’s mental state, they may not even realise they are over-heating.

The body’s ideal temperature is 37 degrees. The body cools itself by sweating, which normally accounts for 70 to 80 per cent of the body’s heat loss. If a person becomes dehydrated, they don’t sweat as much and their body temperature keeps rising.

The elderly may not always be able to access a drink by themselves and therefore even more important that they are monitored during the hot summer days. If left alone, they may even suffer heat stroke which is an extremely dangerous condition. Heat stroke occurs when the core body temperature rises above 40.5C and the body’s internal systems start to shut down. Many organs in the body suffer damage and the body temperature must be reduced quickly. They are basically cooking inside. Most people will have profound central nervous system changes such as delirium, coma and seizures. The person may stagger, appear confused, have a fit or collapse and become unconscious. As well as effects on the nervous system, there can be liver, kidney, muscle and heart damage. With heat stroke, the skin may be dry and their mental condition will be deteriorating. They may also experience heat rash, dizziness, cramps and be totally exhausted.

Urgent treatment may be required. Prevention is easier than the treatment. Ensure they are checked on at least twice a day, have adequate ventilation, maybe a fan or air conditioning, they eat light meals to maintain their energy and take it easy with lots of rest. If you notice an elderly person is suffering from heat related stress, then call a doctor urgently or take them to a hospital. Then loosen their clothing and wet their skin with water and put a fan on them to drop their temperature. Do not give them fluids to drink at this stage. If they are already unconscious, then roll them on their side and clear their airway.

If you are unable to monitor someone elderly, then reach out and ask Your Home Care to assist and know your loved ones are being cared for and safe.


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Coping With Grief

Losing someone you love or care for deeply about is one of the most painful experiences you can suffer. Your emotions can do a rollercoaster ride and you may think the pain and loss will never go. These are normal reactions to a great loss and no two people re-act the same. There are some healthy ways to cope with the pain and over time, it can allow you to move forward.

It is a natural, normal part of our behaviour to suffer grief. The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief may be.  Suffering grief is often associated with the death of someone, however, it can be due to divorce or loss of a friendship even the loss of one’s career and self-worth.WonderNotGriefx

Grieving is a very personal and highly individual experience. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experience, your faith may also influence your grieving style, and maybe the nature of the loss. This whole process takes time. Healing happens gradually in one’s own time. For some people it may be a quick recovery, for others the grieving may linger for many years.   Whatever your reason for the grief, it’s important to be patient with yourself or those around you and allow the process to naturally unfold.

The process of grieving comes in stages.  This is the usual or common process:

  1. DENIAL – we just don’t want to accept what is happening
  2. ANGER – why the hell is this happening to me? It must be someone’s fault
  3. BARGAINING – I wish this didn’t happen, but if only I did something about it
  4. DEPRESSION – I just can’t see my way out of it
  5. ACCEPTANCE – OK, I can accept what has happened and can’t change that

Most people will experience some or all of the processes, and it’s OK if you skip a few. Sometimes when there are special occasions, these emotions may return i.e. Christmas family gathering and someone is absent, wedding anniversary spent alone etc.

We often think of grief as a strictly emotional process, but grief often involves physical problems, including fatigue, nausea, lowered immunity, weight loss or weight gain, aches and pains, and insomnia. It is the ideal time to reach out and seek assistance to support you through this time.  Just a few hours a week maybe all that is required to make the difference.

Friends and family are usually well meaning with their support but sometimes we may need to seek professional assistance of a counsellor or doctor to pull through. Our carers can also assist with the daily tasks to allow the sufferer to spend that important time in grieving without being stressed about ‘the rest of the world’ issues and always willing to lend a shoulder to lean on. There are great benefits in joining a support group. Sharing your sorrow with others who have experienced similar losses can help immensely.  Sharing your loss makes the burden of grief easier to carry.

Those caring for someone suffering from grief should also be aware to identify the difference between grief and the onset of depression. Even when you’re in the middle of the grieving process, you will have moments of pleasure or happiness. With depression, on the other hand, the feelings of emptiness and despair are constant.

No matter how you cope with grief, remember to reach out and ask for the support during this time, if only just for a while. All things come to an end, even our darkest times. Remember, death may leave a heartache but love with leave a memory.

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How Will NDIS Assist Those In Need?

The NDIS is a new national scheme designed to help improve disability services and provide greater control and decision making to people with disability in Australia.  It has been long awaited relief for those with disabilities or caring for ones with a disability.  Some locations around Australia have been fortunate enough to be trialling the new National Disability Insurance Scheme although Queensland will have to wait a little longer for its trial, with the full scheme beginning July 2019.  It is hoped that by trialling in selected locations first, it will provide valuable experience and evidence for further implementation nationally without too many problems.  The scheme will cost $22.2 billion a year when it is fully operational in 2019-20.NDIS

The current disability support system is financially unsustainable. Funding growth is not
keeping pace with the growing demand for disability services and equipment. This puts increasing strain on families and carers, making informal care arrangements unsustainable and causing a vicious cycle. Available money is diverted away from early intervention services that support people to build their independence towards expensive crisis-management services limited to the most urgent need.  Pressure on other service systems increases as people with disability find themselves in hospital for longer because they can’t get disability support to live at home or in poverty because they can’t get to work each day.

The NDIS will provide funding for ‘reasonable and necessary’ support, services and equipment. Some of the guidelines in the Act will help decide what can be funded but generally the supports and services should assist a person to:

  •  achieve your goals
  • become more independent
  • develop skills for basic day to day living
  • take part in the community
  • work and earn some money

The practical application of this means:

  • Mobility – moving safely in the home or community (equipment and advice for the home, a cane, a seeing eye dog, training on how to use these things as well as any residual vision);
  • Communication – special and general devices and training that helps with reading and writing (assistive technology – Scanners, Refreshable Braille displays, Magnifiers, portable and desktop CCTVs; and software – screen readers, JAWS) and general communication technology that a person with vision loss can use like smart phones;
  • Self-care and self-management – strategies, training, tips and equipment to organise your home and identify items;
  • Social interaction – this could include services or activities to help you link and connect with the community, and support to participate in recreation, cultural and sporting activities;
  • Learning – includes supports such as early intervention, aids and equipment, training, and/or access to a variety of services such as literacy services (like Braille, access to our Feelix Library for Children, adaptive technology training), vocational education and training, therapy, accessing information, and transcription. You may also need help getting there and getting around such as orientation and mobility training. It will depend on a person’s life stage – a child, a young person, and adult. Of course, individual needs will vary according to life stage; and
  • Capacity for social and economic participation – supports to assist you to have a job and participate in the community.

At this stage, it appears that only persons under 65 years of age will be eligible however, once you are accepted, if you turn 65 years, the support will continue.  You eligibility will depend upon your location, age level of disability and early intervention supports that may be available.  The NDIS website has an accessible checker to see if you may be eligible, go to www.ndis.gov.au/my-access-checker.  If your application is not successful, they will have an appeal process in place and a Tribunal will make a decision.

The main aim of the scheme is to fund long-term, high quality care and support (excluding income replacement) for people with significant disabilities. In Australian, there would be about 460,000 people able to receive funding support through the scheme at any given time.

The NDIS is likely to cover other supports offered to many people with disability, including aids and equipment, home and community care, personal care, domestic assistance, respite, home and vehicle modifications and community access.

This will greatly take some pressure off anybody with disabilities or their carers knowing that they will now receive funding to deliver the quality of care and life that they or their loved ones deserve.

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Easing The Pain In Palliative Care

Palliative care may affect all of us at some stage in our lives whether as a patient, carer, family member, neighbour or friend.  The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life of patients and families who face life-threatening illness by providing pain and symptom relief, and psychosocial support.  When someone has an illness that cannot be cured and will lead to death, palliative care may be suggested. Palliative care is that part of healthcare provided to people who have a progressing illness that will lead to an eventual death. Cure is no longer the aim of treatment. Instead, maintaining the best quality of life possible becomes the priority. With the growing ageing population in Australia, the demand for palliative care is only going to continue.  Some key findings in a recent report from The Institute of Health and Welfare Australia, outlined the following facts:patient-with-teddy-bear

  • there were more than 57,600 palliative care-related separations reported in public and private hospitals in 2011–12.
  • almost $4.7 million in Medicare Benefits Schedule payments was paid for palliative medicine specialist services in 2012–13.

Most people facing a terminal illness or life threatening illness would like to choose to spend as much time as possible in their own home surrounded by those they love and in a familiar environment. Unfortunately, sometimes the patient has been admitted to hospital or a nursing home where palliative care is delivered. It certainly takes courage and commitment from not just the family members and friends to provide continuous care at home but our caring staff are are vital to offer support and ease the pain in palliative care for the patient.  Love and kindness are not luxuries in your time of need but a necessary part of the care.

Palliative care likes to co-exist with medical specialists to offer the best quality a patient can experience, to make them comfortable, ensure their daily chores are attended to, their meals cooked for them and some quality of life is available around the clock.  Sometimes it can be as simple as a walk around the garden, or being wheeled in a wheelchair around the garden – simply getting out and touching nature and escaping the bedroom blues. Many of our clients just enjoy having a book read or a conversation. Managing the symptoms and easing the pain is the core focus.

Talking about the subject of palliative care can be hard. You and your family may find this, and so will some health professionals. Talking about death and dying can be stressful because many people feel it is easier to avoid the subject. However, at some stage, it may have to be addressed. It is helpful to contact us to discuss palliative care early rather than later from the first diagnosis of a terminal illness. This will enable us to fully plan the best possible path to take for your loved one in a time of need. You may also wish to discuss this with your doctor and get a referral.

Often family members offer assistance in the early stages of a terminally ill person but after time you will become exhausted and drained from the demands.  Not just from the physical demands but you can become emotionally drained also. It is not an easy task and may also deprive you from your own daily life. We would like to have a collaborative approach to ensure the family is still included in the care, that all persons involved receive the support they require and most of all, the patient receives best quality care in their time of need.

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A New Year Ahead – A Promise Of A New You

It’s almost a New Year and so many of us are seeking a brand new ‘us’ and therefore come up with some good and sometimes, some ridiculous plans to make a better ‘us’.
The most common kind of resolution aims at personal self-improvement: lose weight; exercise more; get out of debt; quit smoking; learn Spanish; spend less time on Facebook and a few more. But what is the value of a resolution without a plan of action to ensure it is more than just a pipedream?newyearresolutions

The resolution that could have the most profound benefit on one’s life would have to be to quit smoking.

Did you know that smoking tobacco is the catalyst to so many other health conditions? You may be surprised. So if your New Year’s resolution is to quit smoking forever, the health benefits speak for themselves. But the hardest step and the key to successfully quitting, is recognising what triggers your impulse to smoke. Once you recognise those triggers, whether it is stress or social occasions, then you can work around them towards quitting.

Research has shown that most smokers don’t want to smoke but the lack of confidence, self-awareness and skills to quite successfully. Around 84% of smokers have tried to quite at least once, whereas over half have tried to quite several times.

Need a reason to quit?
1. Smoking harms nearly every organ in your body. One in two smokers who never quite will die from a smoking caused disease.
2. Tobacco smoke comprises of thousands of chemicals with about 70 of them causing cancer.
3. Long term smokers are at a higher risk of developing many diseases and health problems including different cancers, lung disease, heart disease, heart attacks and strokes, and poor blood circulation in feet and hands.

Why do we care?
In our business, we come across so many clients that have their quality of life compromised due to the effects of smoking throughout their lives. Being incapacitated due to a stroke that possibly could have been avoided, when the mind is still active but the body can’t follow through, tugs on the heart strings of our carers and the client’s families.

Getting help
To increase your chances of quitting successfully, it may assist you to seek guidance from a professional organisation or coach, or better still, with a support buddy that will quit with you. There are many nicotine replacement products available from patches, gum and sprays that have proven effective. The first step, is to have a strong desire to want to quit.

The most effective method, according to research, is straight out ‘cold turkey’ often supported by patches or medication.

Sometimes there may be withdrawal symptoms from anxiety, cravings, increased appetite, poor concentration, irritability or restlessness but be assured, these feelings will pass and the benefits of your new healthier body will outweigh a small amount of symptoms.

While some parts of the lungs may heal from the damage caused by smoking, much of the damage is permanent and will leave smokers (and quitters) at an increased risk for a range of health problems.

So before you raise a glass to your new found resolution for a better year ahead, just spend a few moments to do some planning and a few action steps to ensure it actually happens. Here’s to a healthier you!

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