There’s been a welcome expansion of a successful, in-home Short-Term Restorative Care program (STRC) in which a multi-disciplinary team from HammondCare works with people who are declining in function.

HammondCare’s STRC teams work in north, south-west and south-east Sydney regions to help people to stay independent at home (including in an independent living unit). The STRC team prevents hospital admissions, higher levels of care or reliance on care and increases engagement and quality of life.

Clients assessed by ACAT as experiencing functional decline can be referred to the program which is delivered for up to eight weeks. HammondCare arranges further assistance and funding on a needs basis so that when the program’s finished, clients have enough support to continue living their homes.

Depending on needs, the HammondCare team can include a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, exercise physiologist, dietician, care worker, allied health assistant and GP. The team works with people in their homes and team leader, Kylie Lemsing, says the program often reverses declining independence in daily activities.

“If people had a fall and lost confidence or were finding some things more difficult, for example to get out of bed or shower themselves, we can work with them to find new ways of doing things at their place. Because we work in homes where the problems occur, we can see how the problems arise so advice is more appropriate, and accepted more quickly, than if we were off-site where advice might not translate so well to a particular home.”

HammondCare doesn’t promise that everything can be regained. The team does train people to do things differently, rearranges things they commonly use or suggests home modifications or equipment that can help people do things more easily. The team usually suggests people try some domestic assistance and reports that, nine out of ten times, people who otherwise would not have tried it, find domestic assistance to be more than helpful.

“For example, we were working with a lady with arthritis,  doing a lot of meal prep with her to help her avoid lifting heavier implements, and we rearranged the kitchen so there were  fewer obstacles,” said Ms Lemsing.  “The biggest feedback is people feel so supported in both assistance and confidence,” says Ms Lemsing.

There are at least three practitioners in each team, who collaborate on ideas and reinforce the same messages. You will need to be referred by ACAT (be sure to ask for the Short-Term Restorative Care program) and have a My Aged Care record. Clients can receive STRC support twice in one year. The STRC program aims to fill a gap and not double-up on use of funding, so people are not eligible if they are on certain other programs or packages. To find out more about the STRC program in the northern Sydney area, contact HammondCare 8788-3900 or email