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The Carer Impact Statement

A carer is anyone who provides unpaid care and support to family members...

Written by
Dan McCutcheon

A carer is anyone who provides unpaid care and support to family members and friends with a disability or mental health condition. One in ten Australians are unpaid carers.

A Carer Impact Statement (also known as a Carer Statement) is a powerful document that carers can provide as evidence to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) during an application process or at the planning stage once someone is receiving support through the NDIS. It allows carers to convey the significant impact that caring for a loved one with a disability has on their lives and the lives of their other family members. 

Why Write a Carer Statement?

While not mandatory, including a Carer Statement can influence the level of funding and support that is allocated to the individual with a disability.

It provides the NDIA with a comprehensive understanding of the carer's role and the support they provide. It also allows carers to go beyond the traditional responsibilities of their informal support (typically as parents) and highlight the ‘over and above’ additional care and assistance they provide to their loved one with a disability every day. By sharing their experiences and challenges, carers can ensure that the NDIS plan not only meets the needs of the individual with a disability but also supports the ongoing caring role of the carer. 

How to Write an Effective Carer Statement

Writing an impactful Carer Statement requires careful consideration and thoughtful expression. While there is no specific template or format mandated by the NDIA, there are some key elements that should be included in the statement.

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you craft an effective Carer Impact Statement:

1. Introduction

Begin your statement by introducing yourself and your relationship to the person with a disability. Provide some background information about your role as a carer and the length of time you have been providing care. This will give the reader (NDIA planner or LAC) context and set the stage for the rest of your statement.

2. Overview of the Person’s Support Needs

Provide a brief overview of the person’s disability, including any diagnoses or specific challenges they face. Explain how their disability affects their daily life, functioning, and overall well-being. If you are a parent it may be helpful to describe the person’s childhood and some of the barriers and challenges you both faced growing up. This will help the reader understand the specific care needs that you meet as the person’s primary carer. Detail the specific ways in which the disability impacts the individual's daily living activities. This can include personal care tasks, mobility barriers, communication difficulties, and any other challenges they face on a daily basis. Provide specific examples to illustrate the level of support and assistance required.

3. Support Provided and the Physical and Mental Health Impact

Describe in detail the type of carer and support you provide to the person with a disability. This includes both practical everyday assistance and emotional support. The literature shows that carers are much more likely to experience unhealthy levels of stress, disturbed sleep, burnout and physical health conditions when compared to the rest of the community. Discuss how caring for the individual with a disability affects your own physical and emotional well-being. Explain the physical demands of caregiving, such as lifting and transferring, as well as the emotional toll it may be taking on you such as overwhelm, anxiety and burnout. Highlight any health issues or limitations you may have as a result of your caregiving responsibilities.

5. Social and Financial Impact

Explain the social and financial impact of caring for your loved one with a disability. Discuss any limitations on your ability to work or pursue other activities due to your caregiving responsibilities. Include information about any financial burdens or difficulties that arise from the additional costs associated with caring for a person with a disability. This ‘social stressor’ of financial hardship often compounds existing difficulties and challenges faced by people with disabilities and carers if employment is not possible. While the NDIA is not responsible for providing financial assistance (this is provided through payments and pensions from Services Australia i.e. Centrelink), describe the flow-on effects these impacts may have on your lives as a family.

6. Support Received

Outline the support services that you and your family currently receive to assist with the care of the individual with a disability. This can include formal supports, such as respite services, therapy or support coordination, as well as informal supports from family, friends, or your local community. Discuss the importance of these supports and the consequences if they were not available. Collaborate with your allied health professionals and support team to communicate a consistent message. Describe how formal paid NDIS supports can complement the existing caring and ensure this informal support arrangement is sustainable for the long-term. Compare this complementary support arrangement of formal and informal supports to a more costly living option that is completely reliant on NDIS funding. 

7. Future Planning

Address your concerns and considerations regarding the future of yourself and the person you support. What does the future look like for you both? Discuss the sustainability of your current caregiving arrangement and any potential challenges or changes that may arise now and into the future. Express any needs or supports that you anticipate requiring in the future to continue providing the best care for your loved one and at what point you may need to step back from your caring role (e.g once your child develops independence skills and reaches adulthood, or you become too elderly to continue caring for them). 

8. Conclusion

Summarise the main points of your Carer Statement and reiterate the importance of understanding the full impact of the disability on both the individual and the carer. Thank the reader for considering your statement and express your hope that it will contribute to a comprehensive and supportive NDIS plan that holistically meets your family’s needs.

By following these guidelines and infusing your statement with your personal experiences and unique perspective, you can create a compelling Carer Statement that effectively conveys the challenges and needs of both the individual with a disability and the carer.

Additional Resources

To further assist you in writing your Carer Statement, here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:

Remember: Your Carer Statement is an opportunity to advocate for yourself and your loved one. Take the time to reflect on your experiences, be honest in your portrayal, and provide the reader with a comprehensive understanding of the impact of caring for a person with a disability. Your statement has the power to make a difference in securing the necessary support and funding through the NDIS. If you have difficulty expressing your experience as a carer, reach out to your Support Coordinator or an Advocate for support.

A carer is anyone who provides unpaid care and support to family members...
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