Looking after a life-limited child is a 24 hour a day job; parents deliver care around the clock, sacrificing their own relationships and wellbeing for the that of their child’s. At Richard House we offer respite care to give families a much-needed break to rest and recharge, while knowing their child is being given the best possible care.  

14-year-old Arlo has been coming to Richard House for over 10 years. When he was born he seemed like a healthy baby, but within five months he was suffering serious seizures. Arlo was eventually diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, a form of severe epilepsy that affects development and requires round the clock one-to-one care. For his family, being able to come to Richard House makes the world of difference.  

When a child comes to Richard House, whether it is for one night or many, they are supported not only in their clinical needs, but in their social and emotional needs too.  

Arlo can scarcely speak, displays autistic behaviours, is awake for many hours each night, and lacks any sense of any danger. But Arlo is a happy boy, who Mum, Galia describes as “hilarious” and someone who knows what he likes. And what Arlo likes is swimming, going to the farm and spending time with his adoring sister. Galia told us “He is the most wonderful, happy, funny little boy.” 

Arlo can have seizures at any time and due to his condition, he needs one-to-one care 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week. This means there is a massive strain on his family to look after him and as a result Galia and her husband are constantly exhausted. Being able to spend time at Richard House has made a world of difference. 

“It's relentless having Arlo at home. If it wasn't for Richard house Arlo would have gone to live in residential care a long time ago. Richard house is the lifeline to keeping Arlo at home” 

Arlo and his family are regular visitors to Richard House for respite. The important thing for Arlo and the family is the continuity of care that Arlo receives. Due to his condition Arlo makes strong bonds with places and individuals, so this is important.  

“Sometimes he's really upset going to school but if you say to him ‘would you like to go to Richard house?’ he will say ‘alright, alright’. He’s happy to be there and he isn’t happy to be everywhere.” 

For his parents, they can enjoy time as a family and get some sleep, knowing that Arlo is safe and being cared for by a professional, fun, caring team. 

Not all families are able to access respite care, even though they are exhausted and desperately need it. We know that we are currently reaching only 1 in 10 of the families who require support in our community. Please support our urgent appeal so we can continue to support Arlo’s family and many more.  

Donate Fundraise