Organisation Submission – United Synergies

I am a service provider delivering carer services

Lyn Harris

United Synergies

United Synergies is a not for profit organisation currently operating the Mental Health Respite: Carer Support program on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Consultation with Carers and team members forms the basis of our response to the Integrated Carer. Support Service.

The proposed model is comprehensive with a wide range of service delivery options where all Carers may access support appropriate to their individual needs at any given time. We welcome the concept this will focus on the Carer as the primary client while supporting their Care Recipient/s in a holistic manner. We also acknowledge this service will sit alongside the NDIS and Aged Care programs which supports the Care Recipient/s.

We believe the two fold aims of this program are appropriate ie 1. proactively support Carers to sustain the caring role and 2. provide intervention/prevention support to avoid crisis/emergency respite.

We note the %’s listed on page 9 of the model document highlights that Carers may also be a Care Recipient ie Carers may be an aged person caring for an aged person or Carers may have a disability or mental illness while also having a disability of mental illness themselves. The proposed model would therefore provide dual support both for the Carer as a Carer and Care Recipient thus streamlining the often confusing nature of having to access multiple services.

Our concern with the proposed model would be how the service would be delivered by organisations particularly if one organisation alone held the contract on the Sunshine Coast. We have had significant interactions with the local Partners in Recovery (PIR) service on the Sunshine Coast and believe a similar model could be successfully implemented for the Integrated Carer Support Service. The collaborative approach where multiple organisations providing individual expertise to the client in a holistic manner is both effective and user friendly. The PIR model operates with a lead organisation taking referrals and conducting intakes then linking the client to a support worker within the collaborative cluster. This allows the client to access multiple appropriate supports both within the cluster and to external services which are still appropriate to the individual client.

We acknowledge this model is in the proposal stage and therefore more information re each individual support type will be forthcoming. Initial discussions with our stakeholders indicate a concern re equity given many service types are based on need which continually changes and how will the organisation monitor this to ensure equity. This would be managed through effective and ongoing case management where the client does not exit until they feel ready to self exit or the caring role has ceased rather than a be given a defined timeframe which often occurs with service provision. The same concern was raised in the “multi component intervention” support which “delivers a single package of intervention (including Carer mentoring, financial support and respite support) tailored to the needs of the Carer. Our stakeholders were again concerned about equity particularly around the financial support proposed as “direct cash payments” to the Carer. From an organisation viewpoint, we may find this challenging ie has the Carer used the direct cash payment in the manner intended and how would the organisation acquit this to DSS.

Overall, United Synergies and our stakeholders look forward to the introduction of the Integrated Carer Support Service.