Family fights for support for disabled son

A St Marys woman has shone a light on a lack of support for disability carers after her elderly mother was hospitalised and left unable to care for her disabled son.

CRY FOR HELP: Hannah Rubenach-Quinn has pleaded for more support for her parents, who care for their 30-year-old disabled son.

CRY FOR HELP: Hannah Rubenach-Quinn has pleaded for more support for her parents, who care for their 30-year-old disabled son.

Hannah Rubenach-Quinn made a desperate plea to the government this week to secure extra support for her parents who care for their 30-year-old son suffering from epilepsy and an acquired brain injury.

While the family receives ongoing support of up to 28 hours each week through disability support service Possability, Mrs Rubenach-Quinn said it wasn’t good enough.

“My brother Tim requires support 24 hours a day, so my mother Beverley was providing 168 hours of care for him each week prior to breaking her leg,” the former federal Greens candidate said.

”Unfortunately now she has received a serious injury, which could potentially have been avoided if she could have accessed home-help or domestic support services, for which she has been on the waitlist for almost two years now. 

“My parents [are] not coping with their enormous caring role and are suffering a range of health conditions.”

A Tasmanian government spokesman said Disability and Community Services was working closely with the family to ensure extra support was provided and that “support was not ceasing”.

“Additional support is in place for the next four weeks, with an agreement for a review to be undertaken based on Beverley’s recovery,” the spokesman said.

“Tim has been offered access to the care respite centre run by Possability, but this is yet to be accepted [by the family].”

Mrs Rubenach-Quinn said the government’s offer of respite care, however, did not address her brother’s reliance on medicinal cannabis which cannot be administered by professional carers.

“Tim must have three times a day access to his medicinal cannabis, as it is the only thing keeping his seizures at a manageable level,” Mrs Rubenach-Quinn said.

“[Respite] is not a solution unless he can access his medicinal cannabis. What we need is a larger, long term commitment.

“In the long term, if we can secure adequate funding, it would mean my parents can continue to provide some level of care for Tim in their own home, and actually do a few things normal retired people do.”

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley was contacted for comment.

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