You Don’t Need To Be Sick

You may think we only have sick clients, but that’s far from reality. Some of our clients are really sick (cool) but they really don’t need to have an illness to reach out for a helping hand.

Numerous Your Home Care clients are perfectly healthy people if only their bodies could keep up with them. Can you imagine the difficulty of being independent and then losing the use of your arms, legs or even your sight? Whilst they may want to retain that independence, their body just can’t do it. This may be a permanent injury or a temporary incapacity.  With a little assistance during this time can often mean the client is able to retain as much independence as possible and either maintain some quality of life or recover faster to become fully independent again.

The scope of our not-so-sick clients:  We were happy to assist ‘Mary’ when she fell and broke both her wrists and would not have been able to manage living on her own without some assistance during her time of heeling. Gradually as ‘Mary’ recovered, our support was reduced and she was able to return to her independent, happy self.

Then we met ‘Ben’, who broke both legs in a skateboarding stair jump accident. Both his step dad and mum worked, and couldn’t take extended leave to care for him. That’s where we came in. And I tell you what, our nurses and personal carers learnt a lot about skateboarding tricks during Benny’s recovery. He certainly wasn’t sick but some of his stories were.


Reaching for goals at 2016 Rio Paralympics – Tracey

And then there is our Paralympic target shooter for 2016 in Rio. Tracey is absolutely full of life and won’t let her wheelchair stop her reaching her goals.  Due to FSH Muscular Dystrophy, Tracey needs an assistant to load her rifle at competitions and training.  2015 qualifying trials get underway next month and we’ll be behind Tracey all the way. The skill is in the aim and she clearly has the aim on the target in her sights.

Occasionally our clients just need a break from caring for their elderly or handicapped loved ones and we can give those carers a break by taking their place for a few days so they can be assured that everything is still in order at home. Whether it’s to attend a family function, go to a movie or a weekend break away with friends, sometimes the main carer needs the support too. This is often the case when one has dementia and can be demanding. It is usually best that the person with dementia maintains their familiar surroundings and routine whilst the main carer gets to have a break from the constant demands. With our partnership, it can be made possible.

So you don’t need to be sick to be assisted in that time of need. Our carers make recovery at home possible, they also make the greater independence possible and support the highest quality of life possible with in-home care services.

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Aged Care Made Easier

Getting older is a fact of life and not much we can do about it except that it doesn’t have to be a hard road to travel down.  We are an ageing population and at some time we will all have to address the issue of ageing family members. As their health and mobility declines, their needs for support increase and the therefore we need solutions to ensure their quality of life is not compromised.  Research suggests that we are all better off in our own environment, our familiar surroundings, our own homes for as long as possible.Aged Carer

If you have ever been involved in trying to help someone with enquiries for an Aged Care Home, you may have realised how stressful, painful and complex the whole process can be. And many times, it has become an emergency and therefore a rushed decision.  Whereas, there are other options that could be, and should be, investigated to retain some quality of life in the final years.

Never assume that Aged Care Home is the last option (or only option).  There are many levels of assistance available for those getting a little older and starting to struggle.  You don’t want to let the situation go on until it becomes an urgent last minute struggle.  Once you think there might be a need for assistance in the very near future, start having the discussion with all concerned family members or care givers. This way it won’t be such a shock when the decision has arrived.

If you can’t care for your elderly family members (or even yourself) for any reason, then getting home assistance can delay or negate the need for Aged Care Home and offer you the support that is needed.

Whilst Aged Care Homes provide a good service for specific people and specific circumstances i.e. dementia patients and others cater for special demographics i.e. religious or cultural needs. Other Aged Care facilities are more like 5 star resorts. They can the support that is sometimes required when in-home care is no longer an option.

In-Home carers are trained professionals in what they do. They have chosen to care as their profession, and know how to do it in the safest and most professional manner, taking away embarrassment and making care a normal process with due respect.

Some people may like to combine a little respite care with in-home care as a way of ‘use before you buy’ and getting accustomed to such environments.  It also allows for the care givers to have a break but knowing they are safe. This may be a great interim set up as a stepping stone to the inevitable. The longer they can stay in their permanent home, familiar surroundings and their home comforts, then the longer they will stay active and enjoy a fulfilling life.  Research shows that the elderly will usually live longer if they are able to remain in their own home as long as possible.  Having in-home support, just like a cleaner or someone to ensure they are eating properly, taking their medications or drive them to an appointment is often the little extra that is required when family is not always available. Then our elderly family members can also enjoy their neighbourhood, pottering around the garden, walking the dog or patting the cat etc. As early stages of dementia set in, then having familiar surroundings becomes very important to them.

Some of our clients have formed strong friendships with our carers and often say it is the highlight of their day to see a smiling face and a familiar face each day.  It’s better for families to have the research ready and acknowledge the inevitable early in time to avoid any urgent situation and keep their elderly loved ones in a safe and happy environment for as long as possible. Have you planned for your elderly family members final years?

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The Seeing Eye Dog Discrimination Issue

Living with blindness has enough hurdles to overcome without being subjected to discrimination but there are improvements starting to dog

Just recently, Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said the QLD State Government will introduce new laws to cut red tape around the permit process for seeing-eye or guide dogs.  The announcement was made at a guide dog graduation ceremony in Brisbane advising that people would no longer have to prove their disability every time they renewed their guide dog permit, amongst other changes. These type of small changes that will have a big impact on those effected by the loss of sight.

Losing your vision changes your life dramatically and the last thing they need is to be discriminated against. The everyday activities that become difficult or near impossible. There are many types of vision impairment and each has a different effect on a person’s ability to see and on their mobility. Having a guide dog is essential for some people and their link to leading an independent life and the outside world. These dogs are highly trained and intuitive to the person’s welfare and needs.

People in the company of a Seeing Eye Dog puppy, dog in training or working dog, have a right of access to all public spaces and services. Vision Australia’s research shows that many people experience discrimination when out with a Seeing Eye Dog or puppy in public places.

A few years ago, a NSW taxi driver was in big trouble after refusing a fare from a passenger with a guide dog because he claimed he was allergic to dogs. NSW Taxi Council said under the Passenger Transport Act a driver could only refuse to transport a person on one of two conditions; either the driver believes they are at risk of physical harm, or they do not believe the passenger can afford the fare, in which case they can ask to see proof of funds. Being allergic to dogs did not constitute sufficient reason to discriminate. Fortunately, most taxi drivers are exceptionally accommodating for their blind passengers.

The Disability Discrimination Commissioner has an important responsibility to lead the implementation of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. This Act makes disability discrimination unlawful and aims to promote equal rights, opportunity and access for people with disabilities.

So next time you see someone at the local shops with their guide dog, take a step in their shoes and be considerate to them. They are people too!

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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.

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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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