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Modular approach meets growing need for respite

An industry-first, innovative, modular design respite cottage is being installed in Sydney as HammondCare seeks to meet the growing demand for respite care.

Lack of respite care, particularly in Sydney, is a significant issue for the aged care industry with 9 out of 10 providers reporting high to very high demand for planned respite care1.

Respite for carers has been proven to enable people to stay at home for longer, with cottage-style respite in particular helping to delay entry into residential aged care by an average of 12 months2.

In an effort to address this need, HammondCare is trialling Sinclair Cottage: an industry-first modular respite care cottage, innovatively designed and built by Modscape at their construction hub in Brooklyn, Victoria, and delivered to Miranda in Sydney’s south-east.

Respite Care Cottage Installation process in Miranda

Pictured: Respite Care Cottage Installation process in Miranda

HammondCare Respite Cottages Manager Anna Wilson said the novel approach could solve many issues in providing cottage-style respite care, notably the lack of suitable, available and affordable housing.

“Usually we spend a lot of money making a property dementia-friendly, and then we have to spend more money undoing all that work once the lease expires,” Ms Wilson said.

“This modular design is purpose-built to be accessible for people living with dementia, and it’s much quicker and more affordable than traditional builds with the same quality. All we need is the land and development approval.”

The design can be operational within four weeks of delivery, is easily added to or reduced in size, and is portable. If successful, the model can be quickly replicated for more locations across the state and around the country, with a build time of just 16 weeks.

The eight-bed facility to be erected in Miranda is based on HammondCare’s residential cottage model. It will be a unique combination of two services, Social Club and Overnight Respite Cottage.

Respite Care Cottage Installation process in Miranda

Pictured: HammondCare Respite Cottage Installation process in Miranda

Officially opening in November, it will provide daily respite care as a Social Club from 8am-4pm, Monday to Friday.

Priority access will be granted to those on the Commonwealth Home Support Program, but there will be the opportunity to access respite with private funds including paying through individual home-care packages.

From January, the cottage will be open on weekends in order to provide overnight respite care. If successful, the model could be replicated in more areas of high demand, including regional Australia.

Latest research shows that respite for carers saves the government money enabling people to stay at home for longer, with cottage-style respite helping to delay entry into residential aged care by an average of 12 months2.

HammondCare at Home General Manager David Martin said innovative solutions like this modular design are needed to provider older Australians with respite care and enable them to live at home longer without carer burnout.

Respite Care Cottage Installation process in Miranda

Pictured: Installation of Miranda Respite Cottage Model in Progress

“Research shows that carers overwhelmingly support cottage respite as opposed to a bed in residential care2. Although costlier to provide, it has the potential to generate system savings by delaying permanent entry into residential care by over a year,” Mr Martin said.

“One of the issues is a lack of incentive for aged care providers, who stand to save money by simply offering beds in pre-existing residential care.

“HammondCare is investing in this alternative because we believe it has the potential to deliver better outcomes for clients and carers, and to ease the transition into residential aged care once that time comes.”

Media: Harrison Vesey | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | (02) 8280 8408

1 Carers Australia, 2018, ‘Improving access to aged residential respite care’, http://www.carersaustralia.com.au/storage/final-residential-respite-care-report-2.pdf

2 Poulos, C; Birch, M-R; 2016, ‘Respite Care Study: Final Report’, Sydney, HammondCare

HammondCare is an independent Christian charity specialising in health and aged care, with a particular emphasis on dementia and palliative care.