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Stories from Our Extended Family

  • On the morning of May 18, 2008, my world, and that of my family, was changed forever.
    My 32-year-old younger brother, Ante, was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident. He was clinging to life when my family and I rushed to his bedside and hoped for the best.
    He was in a coma in intensive care for many weeks. We were all in shock. I couldn't believe that it was happening. As weeks turned into months and complications came and went, I finally came to a difficult stage where I realised that the brother I knew wasn't coming back.
    The acquired brain injury that he had sustained meant that he would be reliant on a high level of care for a long time.
    About four months after the accident, the topic of future care options for my brother came up. I knew it was something my family and I had to seriously start to consider. It was a very difficult time. Many questions came up:
    Who could be trusted with such a high level of care?
    Would he be comfortable in his new home?
    Would my parents, friends and family feel comfortable visiting him?
    Would he receive all of the high level care that he received at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH).
    Many options were offered by the social workers at the RAH. My family and I thought it would be best to go and visit some of the available care facilities to get a better feel for them.
    After visiting a few facilities we were extremely upset. We were trying to find a place with a high level of care, with a homely and welcoming environment but were met with institutions that were cold and almost scary places to step into.
    My family and I were encouraged to visit Barton House. When it was described to us, it sounded almost too good to be true.
    It sounded like it had everything we wanted but we were very wary and didn't want to get our hopes up.
    We hesitantly arranged a visit and were surprised to see exactly what had been described. A beautiful period home in leafy North Adelaide that had been converted into the most warm and inviting care facility we had seen.
    The staff were happy to answer all of our questions. We could visit whenever we pleased.
    After only a handful of meetings we were comfortable with the fact that Ante would receive the highest level of care, 24 hours a day. We know that Barton House would accommodate all of my brother's allied health needs such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, wound management and visits from doctors.
    Just as important as my brother's care was the fact that my parents, who visited my brother every day, would have the comforts of a kitchen, lounge room and wonderful gardens. They enjoy putting my brother in his chair and taking him for walks or sitting him out in the manicured gardens.
    My family and I were so pleased to see my brother in his new room at Barton House at the beginning of the year. We have personalised his room with all of his prized football memorabilia, photos and pet fish. He seems comfortable in his hew home and I am more than happy with the level of care that he is receiving.
    My family and I have been made very welcome and our needs and my brother's needs have always been fully met.
    Ante's friends love to drop in when they are in the area, which is often. My parents stay for long periods of time and never feel pressured to leave. It is like their second home.
    Andrea and her team at SACARE should be commended for the exceptional care. They know that care does not only involve the medical side of things but it includes the wonderful environment, inclusion of family and high skills and professionalism of the people we have entrusted to care for my brother.
    I would not hesitate in recommending Barton House to anybody who might have a similar unfortunate thing happen to them or a loved one. With the greatest appreciation to Andrea and her team.

    Brother of Barton House resident Ante
  • As a father of a mentally disabled son, I have had occasion, over the last eight years, to negotiate the provision of care to my son through SACARE.
    This has involved management of funds and their receipt.
    During the course of my dealings with SACARE, I have always been given proper attention and David's needs have been efficiently managed.
    Disadvantaged people in our society require special care. This has been insufficiently available through Government sources and it is just as well that entities such as SACARE exist.

    Brian F Day
    Technical officer, ICAO
  • SACARE are fantastic in their approach to care and support for their clients. The culture at SACARE is based upon strong values and interest in enhancing the clients wellbeing and lifestyle.
    SACARE demonstrate a very professional and compassionate organisational approach to their clients' needs, and go out of their way to understand each individual's position with compassion.
    Each client has a personalised, positive, adaptive approach to their specific needs. SACARE has flexibility to match needs to the service roster on an ongoing basis and is willing to provide not only basic care and support functionality to ensure the client is maintained in a safe environment, but also provide more independent, personal support options for their clients' evolving independent living skills.

    Daryll Smith
  • Working for SACARE naturally leads to an admiration and respect for not only the management involved, but all facets of the organisation.
    SACARE provides exceptional community-based support, with the ablity to cater for a wide variety of clients and the different levels of support that each client requires. With their experience and expertise, they are able to ensure that every single client's needs are met, whether simple or complex.
    SACARE staff are fantastic in their approach not only to their clients but to all of their suport workers.
    They are able to maintain a professional service whilst being very "hands on'' and involved with the care of their clients.
    Despite the abundance of clients and support workers (and support teams formed), SACARE staff arefamiliar with each and every person and are able to constantly maintain close and regular contact with all involved. They are always friendly, approachable and keen to listen to any issues or concerns, and tdo the best they can to immediately resolve them. They go out of their way to understand each individual's position with compassion (for example, any issues clients have regarding their support workers).
    As a support worker, there is a sense of confidence in being able to contact SACARE staff members to talk about any work-related issue, knowing that you will be understood and are able to receive support and reassurance when needed.
    Because of this, it's not only the service they provide to each other cient that is very individual and personalised, but the relationship they maintain with their support workers as well.
    There is a feeling of determination from SACARE staff to make sure they consistently maintain this level of communication and satisfaction with clients and support workers. It is obvious that they do the best they can to ensure needs are met and to make sure everyone involved is comfortable and happy with their current situation.
    Becuase of this they are providing a quality service and are able to enhance the lifestyle and personal wellbeing of all their clients.
    My experience with SACARE as a support worker has been extremely pleasureable and I happily wirte this as a testimony to my satisfaction.

    Kristy Huddleston
    Support Worker
  • My name is Nick and I am 32 years old. Two years ago on my 30th birthday life looked pretty well under control. I was extremely fit and healthy, had a great job, fun social life, lived in a trendy part of town, and enjoyed expensive hobbies.
    Weeks later I found myself lying on a dusty track next to my motocross bike fighting like crazy for every single breath, paralysed from the neck down. My perfect life had disappeared and I was now a permanent resident in the Intensive Care Unit of the Royal Adelaide Hospital, dependent on a ventilator to breathe.
    Over the next nine weeks I had to learn how to breathe on my own again without the use of my diaphragm, and although I now breathe with a much shallower lung capacity, I managed to build it up enough to generate a cough, resulting in the ventilator being detached for good. I was then able to progress into Hampstead Rehab Centre and begin adjusting to a new way of life.
    It wasn’t long before I was faced with a major question which I had not considered up until then. Where was I going to live? I couldn’t move back into my trendy townhouse with my friends, my mum’s place would be a nightmare to convert into a wheelchair friendly home, and anyway, I now couldn’t even shoo a fly away from my face! I was 100% dependent on assistance for every aspect of my life. Wherever I lived, I would need to have full-time care. The thought of a guy my age who still has his mental capabilities in order, moving into a nursing home situation started to haunt me.
    That’s when someone came across SACARE’s Support Accommodation Facilities and organised a meeting for me. I met with Andrea from SACARE and she told me about their long-term 24-hour support accommodation houses, and showed me through one of their facilities called Tolley House. The relief was overwhelming to see that these types of places existed and was an option. Andrea told me how there was a room available and ready for me if I wanted it, which set me at ease returning back to Hampstead to continue my rehabilitation.
    As the months rolled on and my rehab came to a close I was then faced with this hurdle of getting funding approved by Disability SA to allow me to transition out of Hampstead and into Tolley House. As this wait became extensive SACARE took on a short-term resident to occupy the empty room in the meantime.
    Several months later the funding become available, and they gave me two weeks to organise my accommodation and cease my stay at Hampstead before the new financial year started. An issue arose as it was five weeks before the short-term resident was due to move out of Tolley house.
    Then the anxiety levels went up as they started to look at other living options, none of which offered that home–like environment, or provided me with the support levels I required to live comfortably and stress free.
    Andrea and SACARE then advocated my case with Disability SA and expressed how important it was for someone of my age with my type of injury to be in an environment like they had to offer. Relief flooded over me as they managed between them to come up with an arrangement to see me move into Tolley house once the short-term resident had vacated the room.
    Moving away from my safety net at Hampstead was a little daunting, but all that fear soon washed away as I become acquainted with the great staff working at what was now my new home. They are always close by to assist me with my needs, and make sure I am happy and comfortable at all times.
    Leaving Hampstead and moving into the environment I am now in has given my mental attitude a 180° turnaround. I am happier than I thought I could be living with this injury, and recently completed a facilitator training course to qualify me to run a program aimed at helping people with spinal cord injuries.
    My new home has a resort style feel to it, and everyone is happy to help me with more than just my basic needs. There is also a large function room which allows me to entertain family and friends com

    Nick Benwell