Advance Care Planning Australia has compiled their top 7 tips to help you feel better prepared

Making medical treatment decisions for others is hard. It typically involves a sudden medical event, with someone you love becoming critically ill and unable to communicate. It’s important that as carers, we understand our responsibilities and what’s expected of us if we’re called upon to make medical decisions for others.

National Advance Care Planning Week, 21 – 27 March, is the perfect time to have a heart to heart with the person you care for.

Be prepared. You may find yourself dealing with a sudden medical event if you are a substitute decision-maker (SDM). In fact, everyone who has a husband, wife or parent, is automatically a substitute decision-maker.

Advance Care Planning Australia has compiled their top 7 tips to help you feel better prepared for the role.

1. Start Talking

All too frequently, people have expectations that loved ones can make decisions on their behalf without discussion. If someone has appointed you as a substitute decision-maker without the benefit of clarifying their preferences, be sure to raise it with them.

2. Ask if you’re right for the role

If you’re not great at making decisions in pressured, emotional situations or feel uneasy about discussing dying, be sure to let your loved one know so they can choose another substitute decision-maker.

3. Get their preferences in writing

Just like making a will, an advance care directive (ACD) can help clarify a person’s preferences, and reduce confusion and family conflict.
Encourage your loved one to write an ACD while they are still fit and healthy. Be aware that legally binding ACDs can only be completed by people with decision-making capacity, so if dementia is a factor, early planning is critical.  If your loved one has already lost decision-making capacity, try to involve them in the treatment decisions by talking about their values and preferences or reflecting on past conversations.

4. Go to medical appointments

It’s easier to make medical decisions for others if you understand their current health status and how it impacts their quality of life. Ask questions at appointments about their illness and treatment options, and how their illness is likely to progress in future.

5. Learn your CPRs and DNRs

From cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) instructions to dialysis, tube feeding and artificial breathing, these interventions come with significant burdens that may not be compatible with how your loved one wants to live. Advance Care Planning Australia offers useful information on life-prolonging treatments and how to weigh the pros and cons.

6. Access is everything

Too often, advance care planning directives and other advance care planning documents can’t be found quickly in an emergency. Encourage your loved one to upload their advance care planning documents to My Health Record . This will ensure the document can be accessed when it’s needed most.

7. Ask for help

As a carer and substitute decision-maker, it’s natural to have questions – ranging from how to complete forms and understand the legal aspects – to your ethical concerns. For free, personalised advice, you or your loved one can call the National Advance Care Planning Support Service on 1300 208 582 from 9am – 5pm (AEST) Monday to Friday.


For more information,

and access a free email starter pack. View ACPA’s new Questions that Matter Most video. You can also find face to face and online awareness raising events Australia-wide during National Advance Care Planning Week.

Advance Care Planning Australia is funded by the Australian Government and administered by Austin Health.

Tandem eNews #164 March 8th 2022

Dear members and supporters,

Happy International Women’s Day!

It’s been an exciting day here at Tandem. We hosted around 70 members, guests, and staff at our first International Women’s Day (IWD) breakfast in the Event Space in our new Trenerry Crescent home.

It was an honour to host Thirrili CEO Annette Vickery, who joined us to convene a Yarn with Tandem’s own CEO, on the rise of Lived Experience leadership.

Depending on where you look, the theme for International Women’s Day in 2022 is either ‘Break the bias’ or ‘Changing Climates: Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’.

Both celebrate working to end gender bias and inequality, and the harms that they bring to women, non-binary and gender diverse folk – as well as to men whenever they step outside of stereotypical male roles, e.g. taking on carer roles.

In Australia in 2022:

While some women in Australia feel like they don’t experience the effects of gender bias in their everyday life, progress hasn’t been equal.

Please read on through our IWD edition of eNews to find some great resources on financial wellbeing for women, as well as some IWD and International Transgender Day of Visibility events that are coming up over the next few weeks.

A quick note on our Family and Carer-led Centres focus groups

Get in quick! We still have 11 focus groups for families, carers and supporters for the Family and Carer-led Centres coming up with spaces available – but if you would like to register, please move fast as the positions are filling.

You can access the complete newsletter via the link below:
Tandem eNews #164

Tandem eNews 163


eNews Special Edition #163 February 28th 2022202

  • Introduction
  • Focus groups for families, carers and supporters
  • Focus groups for service providers
  • Join us for breakfast and a yarn on International Women’s Day 
  • Tandem Time dates for 2022
  • How to make a submission to the Disability Royal Commission
  • Lived Experience Supervision Project Lead position at CMHL
  • Lifting the lid on the experiences of family/carer workers in mental health
  • $250 energy bill bonus extended
  • COVID-19 vaccinations
  • Food support
  • Tandem Support & Referral Line
  • Other Mental Health Helplines and Webchats
  • Join the Tandem Family 

    You can access the complete newsletter via the link below:
    Tandem eNews #163

Tandem eNews number 161-162

eNews special edition #161
February 10th 2022

Dear members and supporters,

We’re thrilled to share the news that Tandem has been commissioned by the State Government to lead the first stage of the project to design the model for the eight Family and Carer-led Centres to open across Victoria later this year.These Centres will be for family and friends who are supporting someone with mental health challenges.The Centres were recommended by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. (You can read about them in chapter 19 of Volume 3 of the Royal Commission’s final report or in Tandem’s summary of recommendations 30-32).The Mental Health and Wellbeing Division within the Department of Health is creating eight new regions for the delivery of its services. There will be one Family and Carer-led Centre in each region.In the new system there will be three regions in metropolitan Melbourne:

  • North East Metro
  • South East Metro
  • Western Metro

There are also five regions planned for regional and rural Victoria:

  • Gippsland
  • Grampians
  • Hume
  • Loddon Mallee
  • South West

As with all state government services the budget for the Centres is set by the government.

We have engaged members from Tandem’s Participation Register to codesign a survey and a series of focus groups so that Tandem’s members and other family and friends can get involved in shaping the model for the Centres.

Read on below to find out how you can get involved!
Tandem enews 161

Tandem eNews #162 February 22nd 2022

Dear members and supporters,

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been 12 days since we announced Tandem’s involvement in leading the work to codesign the model for Victoria’s eight Family and Carer-led Centres.

In that time, Tandem’s System Reform team has been working hard on a plan for how we can visit every region in Victoria to hear from families, carers and supporters about how your regional Centre could best support you.

We have organised 22 focus groups for families, carers and supporters all across the state. In addition, we are holding another six focus groups for local service providers in each region who are interested in working with their regional Centre.

You are now welcome to register to attend a focus group in your region.

The first focus groups begin a week from today, so please register ASAP.

Each focus group runs for two hours. Participants of the focus groups for families, carers and supporters will be paid $150 for their contribution.

Family and Carer-led Centres will be for anyone supporting someone with mental health challenges.

The Centres were recommended by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. (You can read about them in chapter 19 of Volume 3 of the Royal Commission’s final report or in Tandem’s summary of recommendations 30-32).

We are very keen to hear from as many families, carers and supporters as possible from each region, including:

  • First Nations Peoples
  • People from diverse cultural backgrounds
  • People with disability
  • People with coexisting mental and physical health conditions
  • Young people (aged 25 years or younger)
  • Older Victorians (aged 65 years or older)
  • LGBTIQ+ people
  • People who are supporting someone who is or has been supported by forensic mental health services/had interactions with the criminal justice system
  • People who are supporting veterans or currently serving members of the Australian Defence Force, and
  • People who are supporting someone whose life is impacted by alcohol or other drugs

Please share the link to register for focus groups within your own networks, including on social media. We’ve included links to the individual focus groups below.

After the numerous lockdowns of the last few years, we are very excited to be heading out to the regions to see many of you face-to-face!

For more information click on the link below:

Tandem enews #162


TheMHS Autumn Forum in Sydney 28 April 2022

Recovery, Rehabilitation and Psychosocial Disability in a Persistently Complex System

As a valued member of our TheMHS community, we’d like to offer you a “TheMHS Network” special offer. For 10 days only in-person and virtual registrations will be offered at a 25% discount off the full rate. This generous discount will not last, register now to avoid disappointment.

Join us for this information packed Forum addressing a significant current challenge in mental health services. The timely topic ‘Recovery, Rehabilitation and Psychosocial Disability in a Persistently Complex System’ is not to be missed.

This one day Forum is a wonderful opportunity to come together in a safe environment, with a very limited number of in-person spaces available and RAT testing kits provided as part of your in-person registration.

In-person attendees have a brilliant opportunity to reconnect with peers during an intimate networking event, catered with drinks and canapés, set on the lovely outdoor terrace that will be accessible throughout the Forum.

Register now to secure your attendance at our generous TheMHS Network rate, available until 17 March!

TheMHS welcomes an impressive range of top speakers.

Dorothy Belperio, Managing Director, Health Connexion

Lisa Brophy, Professor and Discipline Lead of Social Work and Social Policy, La Trobe University

Gill Callister, CEO, Mind Australia

Kerry Hawkins, President, Western Australian Association for Mental Health (WAAMH)

Robyn Murray, Manager – Pathways to Community Living Initiative, Mental Health Branch, NSW Ministry of Health

Mary O’Hagan, Executive Director Lived Experience, Victoria Department of Health

Mark Orr, CEO, Flourish Australia

Neil Turton-Lane, NDIS Manager, VMIAC

If you jumped in quick and already registered, we’ll be refunding you the difference
Join your peers in the mental health community and register for TheMHS Autumn Forum 28 April 2022.

Please click on the link below for more information:

Voluntary Amalgamation of Central Bayside Community Health Services, Connect Health & Community and Star Health

NEWCO logo.png

We deliver similar and often interconnected services with a shared goal of providing better health, wellbeing, and support outcomes for people within the inner south, and southeast suburbs of Melbourne. This is a credit to the vision created by each of our organisations respectively.
We acknowledge that clients are increasingly experiencing replication in the services offered across the organisations and a voluntary amalgamation would help to reduce service silos and help to improve client access to services.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on our community health services and if there is anything we have learned, it is that we are better together than apart.

Our three organisations have collaborated and partnered during the pandemic, and we are delighted with the outcomes this alliance has yielded.
Together we can advocate for our communities, including leading up to State and Federal elections in 2022.
Combined we represent more clients and a larger geographic area, making our voice stronger and louder.
We are confident that our values, objectives, and visions for the future align with each other.
History of voluntary amalgamation
Bringing aligned organisations together to deliver better and more services to its local communities has been a key part of the history of Star Health, Central Bayside Community Health Services and Connect Health & Community.  When Central Bayside Community Health Services (CBCHS) celebrated its 30 years of service to its local community in 2019, it reflected on its early beginnings. In April 1989, the Mordialloc Cheltenham Community Health Centre commenced business. The very next year, in 1990 it merged with Mordialloc Aged Services and
in 1997 Chelsea Community Health Centre merged with CBCHS to become larger and stronger.

It’s the same story for Star Health. In 1993, three Community Health Services in Prahran, St Kilda and South Melbourne merged to form Inner South Community Health Service (ISCHS). ISCHS became Star Health in 2019 and continues to stand on the traditions of these smaller organisations by addressing health inequity for its local community.  Connect Health & Community has also continued to evolve over the past 40 years to better serve its
community. More recently in 2017 it entered a joint venture with Link Health and Community to expand  its primary health offering to the community of Sandringham and beyond by opening the Sandringham Ambulatory Care Centre at the Sandringham Hospital in partnership with Alfred Health.

The commitment of our three organisations to adapt, grow and strengthen our service offering to our communities has never wavered. We believe the voluntary amalgamation of our services during one of the biggest challenges to our health system is a natural evolution which will ensure that we can continue to be even more effective for the next 40 years.

We recognise that a voluntary amalgamation, though very new to our three organisations, is not new to community health services. Amongst the in-depth conversations we are having with our stakeholders, we are also looking to other community health organisations that have successfully voluntarily amalgamated or merged with other like-minded organisations.
As the name of the entity will be decided after the AGM vote, the voluntary amalgamation will be referred to as NewCo throughout this document.

Alfred Health Carer Support Services Carer South March 2022 enews

Care South March enews 2022

Click on this link to access the complete newsletter Care South March enews 2022

Welcome to the March edition of eNews 

As we enter the Autumn months, our eNews includes many opportunities for carers to get out and about, as well as plenty of online activities to get involved in.
The beautiful kangaroo paw flower image in this month’s banner is courtesy of the Royal Botanical Gardens Cranbourne, which is a must visit if you are looking for a leafy outing!


Assistance with NDIS navigation
Are you scrambling to understand your NDIS plan, working out what supports are actually funded, searching for providers and support workers that suit your needs and struggling with the constant updates needed to stay in the loop?

MyCareSpace provide support for busy people and can manage three core areas for you to take a huge load off your back. This includes:
– A dedicated Connections Team to find the supports you need
– Vetted NDIS providers with capacity, skills and experience
– Simple easy to read resources to keep you in the loop
This is a free service
For more information, click here

NDIS Accessible Employment Opportunities – Australian Electoral Commission


Accessible employment opportunities – Australian Electoral Commission temporary workforce

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is recruiting a temporary workforce for the 2022 federal election.

The AEC promotes diversity and inclusion and equal employment opportunities.

If you are interested in applying for a temporary position with the AEC you can learn more about the positions and how to register through the following links:

If you decide to apply, you will be asked to indicate if you have a disability and whether reasonable adjustment to the workplace is required. The AEC may contact you to discuss your situation.

If you have low vision or difficulty completing the registration online, please contact the AEC on 13 23 26 for assistance.

Support for people who have attempted suicide

Support for people who have attempted suicide

Over 65,000 Australians attempt to take their life each year, and suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15-44.

People who have attempted suicide are identified as being at significant risk and the 24 hours, one week and up to three months following a suicide attempt are critical to ensuring people keep safe and can work through the hardships which are affecting their lives.

SEMPHN funds a service called The Way Back Support Service, a beyond blue model to connect people with informal and formal supports by providing guidance, encouragement, motivation and follow-up support for up to three months after a suicide attempt.

The service is available for patients discharged from Casey and Dandenong Hospital’s emergency department.

Find out how this service helped Paul in his journey to recovery.

Watch Paul’s story


National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Report from Crikey.Com

Amber Schultz


Amber covers health and social affairs for Crikey. She has been shortlisted for two Young Walkley Awards, was the 2021 Mumbrella Young Writer of the Year for her coverage of sexual violence, and in 2018 completed the Jacoby-Walkley scholarship. She holds two Master degrees and previously worked for The Age, Nine News and ABC’s Tonightly.

The agency that oversees the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has no idea how many of the workers it pays for to provide services are unregistered.

These workers, who are either employed by a company or are freelance, can provide services ranging from landscaping to personal care, chosen by NDIS participants. They’re governed only by a “code of conduct” comprising just seven dot points around respecting privacy, preventing and responding to sexual misconduct and providing quality care.

“There are more checks and balances when buying a beer than there is on the provisions of unregistered NDIS services,” Labor Senator Tony Sheldon told a Senate committee hearing yesterday. He pointed to the responsible service of alcohol (RSA) course those working in pubs and bars have to take to serve booze, versus the lack of certification disability workers have to have.

Allowing people with disabilities to pick and choose who provides their services is a crucial part of the NDIS model around choice and control. But with a toothless sector watchdog understaffed and overburdened with complaints, unregistered providers can not just be costly — but dangerous too.

Where’s the oversight?

Acting NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner Tracy Mackey told estimates there were around 4000 unregistered providers — but couldn’t provide an exact figure. So how exactly are standards enforced?

While workers with a registered provider have to undergo a screening test before being hired, unregistered providers are subject to the code of conduct with little else governing how they work. Mackey pointed to the “half a million” downloads of the code of conduct as evidence workers were paying attention.

Disability staff are some of the lowest-paid workers in Australia and many have no disability-related qualifications. There’s high turnover too, with around a quarter of staff leaving their role in a given year.

As Crikey has revealed, this has led to several instances of abuseneglect and theft for many people with disabilities.

The fact the NDIA can’t say how many unregistered providers or workers there are is extremely worrying, estimates heard. It also has no idea how many of those unregistered workers are vaccinated.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston also said she has no idea how many Australians with disability have died from COVID-19. She said the government “wouldn’t necessarily know” if someone has a disability.

How are dodgy providers dealt with?

Mackey said people with a disability, their families or their advocate can make a complaint about a registered or unregistered provider with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

But how realistic is this? As of June 2021, the commission employed just 124 staff across the country. In the past financial year the commission received:

  • Over 1 million notifications of unauthorised use of restrictive practices, including using medication to restrain someone or locking them in a room, more than triple 2019-20 numbers
  • 417 allegations of sexual misconduct, up from 350 the previous year
  • 1179 notifications of death (unregistered providers don’t have to provide this data to the commission)
  • 2030 allegations of unlawful physical or sexual contact, up from 1671 the previous year
  • 3189 notifications of serious injury, up from 1854 the previous year
  • 5971 allegations of abuse and neglect, up from 3637 the previous year
  • 7231 complaints. More than half of those complaints were dismissed by the commission and just 2% of them were resolved through a resolution process
  • 20,090 inquiries about behaviour support

Between July and December 2021, an extra 4134 complaints were submitted to the commission.

Crikey has heard instances of commission staff walking off the job in tears due to understaffing and under-resourcing. There were just 291 investigations launched into complaints in the past year, and just 46 providers have been banned since 2018 when the commission was formed.

The commission was recently granted broader powers to grant banning orders based on how suitable an organisation is to provide services and to approve or revoke quality auditors.

Are unregistered providers the issue?

Unregistered providers are an important part of allowing people with disabilities to chose who provides them with care — especially given the care is often personal in nature. But making sure that person is qualified, suitable, vaccinated and hasn’t been banned from providing certain reports largely rests on the person with disabilities.

“We do try really hard to encourage self-managing participants to require their disability support workers to be vaccinated,” Mackey said, while NDIA CEO Martin Hoffman said it was up to the states and territories to oversee vaccination status of disability workers.

Those working with a registered NDIS provider have to undergo a worker screening check, and if they’re found to have been involved with criminal activity that could impact a person with a disability, such as online scamming or abuse, they receive an exclusion from working with registered providers.

But this doesn’t exclude them from working with an unregistered provider or within the disability sector altogether.