It was a big step for the Haberfields to entrust the respite care of their daughter, Grace, to anyone outside the immediate family.
But thanks to Gateways Support Services’ Getaway House in Warrnambool, the family found the safety and reliability to put their minds at ease.
Grace, 12, is blind and non-verbal and also requires PEG feeding. Dad, Craig, says Grace wakes and requires help several times a night, which can make it difficult for even close extended family to care for her.
‘It was a bit of a process for me to admit that having a break is good for Grace; to experience other people giving her care so she can gain independence and trust others, as well as giving us a rest,’ Craig says.
But after experiencing the level of support provided by Getaway House and seeing how much Grace enjoyed spending time with other kids, Craig and his wife Leanne, knew they had found the right solution.
‘It was a realisation that for caregivers to be able to maintain caregiving long term they need to have a break. So this benefits the whole family,’ Craig says.
‘Without services like this, I don’t know how families can do it. Getaway House is a valuable, important, precious place.’
Grace now attends Getaway House about once a month, giving her the chance to enjoy time with friends and some independence, while her parents take sibling Matthew, 11, out for a special meal.
Getaway House Coordinator Lyn Condon says that, in addition to giving families a break, the facility offers children with disabilities – who often miss out on sleepovers and birthday parties – the chance to have fun with peers.
‘We aim to make Getaway House a special place for them to have fun,’ Lyn says.
‘We make sure kids staying with us have a good time and choose activities based on everyone’s interests and abilities.’
Lyn says staff at the house have been there a long time, enabling them to build relationships and familiarity with the children; getting to know them well and watch them grow.
Getaway House is a purpose-built respite house designed for high-care needs; including hoisting facilities, wide corridors and open spaces to accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility aids. With five bedrooms, including one twin room, the house can accommodate up to six children at a time.
Getaway House is open for children with an NIDS plan that includes funding for short-term accommodation (STA). Find out more on the accommodation section of our website or call 5562 9087.