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Caring for the carers

Caring for the carers

07 June 2016

Two national services to support family carers have been launched by the Ministry of Health for delivery by not-for-profits SAMS (Standards and Monitoring Services), Parent to Parent, and Carers New Zealand and its online partner, MyCare Ltd.

The services, developed by carers for carers, will assist people who support people with disabilities nationwide. The Carer Matching Service (Carers NZ and MyCare) and Care Matters both aim to ensure carers are connected, informed, and able to access relief care.

Care Matters, delivered by SAMS and Parent to Parent, is a learning and wellbeing service providing face-to-face events, web based resources and a free phone service. The website pulls together clear, constructive, up-to-date information to assist carers. The face-to-face events enable carers to connect with other carers, receive current information while also being equipped to make the best of emerging opportunities to have more control over personalised resources.

The Care Matters freephone (0508 236 236), operated by Parent to Parent, connects callers to its existing network of local knowledge and support, and facilitators keen to ensure face-to-face learning opportunities relevant to local interests and needs. Many facilitators are people who have had personal experience of the carer role.

Care Matters equips carers to obtain information/skills that assist today and make it easier to navigate the current system, but also help them make use of a more flexible approach to supports and services. Resources are co-developed with carers and provide carers with the opportunity to examine possibilities, consider alternatives, be strategic, and have a say.

The Care Matters freephone also directs carers to Carers NZ’s new National Carer Matching Service. Often family carers struggle to find relief carers so they can have time out. This online service matches disabled people and family carers with people seeking support work in their area. Carers NZ has partnered with MyCare Ltd to provide free access to its online platform where users can post jobs, view profiles of more than 1000 available workers, and privately contact any whose experience and skills are of interest.

Both services can be accessed at no cost by carers who receive disability support via Needs Assessment and Service Coordination services (NASCs).

SAMS is a 35-year-old service well known in New Zealand, Australia, and North America for its pioneering work at the forefront of developing carer/family education and leadership. At grass roots level it has annual face-to-face contact with more than 700 carers in New Zealand. Information about SAMS is on www.sams.org.nz

Parent to Parent is a 32-year-old organisation involved with the day-to-day support of family/whanau, while also understanding and influencing current and emerging policies that impact on carers. It has 600 volunteer parents/carers providing peer support nationwide, researchers providing information, and workshops for families of people with disabilities. Information about Parent to Parent is on www.parent2parent.org.nz

Carers NZ is New Zealand’s peak body supporting family carers of all ages. It acts as the ongoing Secretariat for the NZ Carers Alliance of more than 45 national not-for-profits, including SAMS and Parent to Parent. It supports a network of more than 50,000 carers and community organisations working directly with carers. Information about Carers NZ can be found atwww.carers.net.nz


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