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Compassionate Leave COVID

Compassionate Leave COVID

Old Sep 9th 2020, 5:17 am
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Default Compassionate Leave COVID

Hello all,
I feel like I should begin by apologising that I haven't been on this site for many years. It was such a great help and resource to us when we emigrated and despite having intentions to check in every so often and try to help others in the similar situation as ourselves, life just kind of took over as it does.

I have tried doing a search of threads with the title of my post and couldn't see anything jumping out at me but please feel free to re-direct me to the right place if there are similar posts.

Long story short - mum is terminally ill with weeks (at worst) months (at best) to love (I meant to type live and accidentally typed love and kinda like it). She's in Scotland and the sole carer of my dad who has dementia. I have a brother who lives 5 hours away, near Doncaster who does what he can to help but he has a wife who has major disabilities and their child, he is the main carer of both. He also works full time.

Having been contemplating for what feels like weeks now as to the best thing to do. Usually, in a situation like this, I would go over and stay a few weeks to support as much as I can. I would absolutely love nothing more than to do this however I also can't help thinking of all the things that could potentially go wrong due to COVID. Getting out of Melbourne would be a start eh???

I decided to apply for the permission to leave under compassionate circumstances. I have done this today and included a letter of support from mum's GP explaining the situation. I reasoned that if I get over this hurdle then I can really start to consider the risks. If I am granted permission, I really think I would be willing to take the calculated risks and just book a flight to get over there ASAP. I've started a list of all the possible things that could go wrong and the main one that keeps coming back to me is the cap on flights and what if I got continually bumped off when trying to return back to Aus, as is happening now. I understand the federal government are "looking at every available option" about the situation and I hope that the thousands trying to get over here will soon get some good news. I have my family here to consider and whilst my husband is happy for me to go over, even for 2 or 3 months, we would both want to know that I would be coming back!

I have read of the countless heartbreaking stories of folks stuck overseas and I don't want to be one of them. I realise that I could get stuck there anyway if the situation in the UK were to become more complicated with COVID, which is looking likely.

When we were thinking of emigrating, the one thing that made me personally take the plunge was a quote I read on here. Someone said "better to regret the things you have done than regret the things you haven't done". If it was you and you're reading this - great advice which I took wholeheartedly and have lived by ever since.

The thing is, I want to live by that quote now and get over to my mum (if the govt give me the go ahead) but I am so fearful of being away from my family here for too long as well.

Anybody else in this situation on here? Can you offer any words of advice or encouragement?

Thanks for reading and you'll be glad this is the short version!

Last edited by scotsista; Sep 9th 2020 at 5:21 am. Reason: words missing
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Old Sep 9th 2020, 6:04 am
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Default Re: Compassionate Leave COVID

Getting a flight back is going to be am issue, I think some airlines have stopped taking bookings because of the backlog.
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Old Sep 9th 2020, 6:25 am
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Default Re: Compassionate Leave COVID

Yes, I had heard that. I was thinking perhaps the govt won't authorise any permissions to leave then if this is going to continue to be an issue.
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Old Sep 9th 2020, 7:07 am
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Default Re: Compassionate Leave COVID

I suspect that you could be away for much longer than you anticipate - worst case scenario, mum dies (and I am so sorry that you are faced with this, it's a ghastly situation to find yourself in) - then you are left with dad who has dementia, what will you do with him? Will he go into care? Will you be able to find somewhere or someone to care for him? How are you going to finance that? If he does go into care, will you be clearing out their home, selling/donating their stuff? How are you going to go about selling their home, do you have power of attorney or will you have to go to court to establish that? All of that could easily take you months (and months, I hate to say). Best case scenario, mum hangs on, you get to see her, then you get home, then she dies - what do you do then? Same questions re dad but if your brother is hours away and with a disabled child, how is he going to manage all? Do you return to mop up dad? Do you trust to your brother to do that? Do you wash your hands and let social services do it all (they wont, that's too difficult) - or do you have any cousins or other friends/relatives that could help you to do it. (We went on holiday in 2011 and returned in March this year - no terminal illness just high care needs - could your whole family go perhaps???)

Personally I would say that you need to budget at least 6 months to get things sorted - I've just been through something like that and the molasses of social care/self funded care etc is deep and sticky to wade through and clearing a house, sending back stuff you might want, sharing it out (didnt have to do that thank goodness), selling stuff etc is a huge task. We were fortunate to find a care home which worked for dad and where he wanted to be but had he had dementia I dont know what I would have done. We had the support of social workers to put mum into care when she got too demanding for us but their usual option is "that's the family's responsibility" and they very much leave you to it. Fortunately she had been to a day program in a care home she was quite happy to visit - but she had no idea she had ever been there before when she originally got taken in. Finding a good care home is hard.

What would you do if the government said no? (in lots of ways that might be the easiest option for you - no guilt, because you tried and it leaves the ball firmly in your brother's court).

I really wish you the very best, you're in a no win situation really and it's one of those times that you feel the tyranny of distance in spades. Good luck
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Old Sep 9th 2020, 7:18 am
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Default Re: Compassionate Leave COVID

Thanks for your lengthy, helpful response Quoll and I'm very sorry to hear that you have been through something similar yourself. That's a hell of a long time to be away on "holiday".

My brother and I both have shared POA for dad so that is at least one issue we don't have to sort out. My husband and I had talked about the possibility of the whole family going over but financially it's just not feasible. Very unlikely we would be able to do that. I'm also not sure that the Aus govt would even allow us all to go as I have read some scary stories about this kind of thing.

Dad's care (if he did go straight into care) would have to be paid for with the sale of the house. He is not keen to go into care and thankfully he is still able to drive, go for food shopping however I think we probably all underestimate just how much he relies on my mum, especially for taking on board new information.

I have had the same thought as you - if the government say no then the decision is made. It will break my heart though as I would rather take the risk I think than not go at all.

Last edited by scotsista; Sep 9th 2020 at 7:22 am. Reason: words missing
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Old Sep 9th 2020, 8:21 am
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Default Re: Compassionate Leave COVID

Firstly, - lots of sympathy for you in a horrible situation.

Next - a couple of practical points - if the permission to travel is refused, you can apply again, as many times as yoiu like, Main reason for refusal is not enouh information, so send everything you possibly can. Lastly, whispers in the corridors of power today talking of the international passenger caps being raised very soon - there will still be a cap but its expected to be much higher than at preseny

Last edited by Pollyana; Sep 9th 2020 at 8:24 am.
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Old Sep 9th 2020, 9:56 am
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Default Re: Compassionate Leave COVID

Thank you Pollyanna, much appreciated. I'm glad to hear that I can apply again if need be. I had thought of asking my brother to get something of evidence in regards to his wife's condition and the caring responsibilities he has there but I decided against it as he has a lot of pressure at the moment. Good to know I can apply again if needed and I would definitely ask him for some kind of supporting statement.

After watching Q+A on Monday I had thought there might be some movement soon. I'm just worried about how long the flights will continue once most of the Aussies are back here. Of course, that could take months and may be good timing for me in the end. The waiting for movement is a difficult part!
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Old Sep 9th 2020, 11:13 pm
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Default Re: Compassionate Leave COVID

Update - my permission to travel has been approved in less than 24 hours. Very efficient! I had been hoping there might be an update provided around flying Aussies back home but there's only a link to an announcement Sco Mo made in July. I will be watching this space very closely to see what happens.

Now I need to begin the process of making the most well informed decision that I can under the circumstances. If anyone reading this hears any updates in regards to returning Aussie travellers, I'd be deeply appreciative if you could post an update on my thread. Thanking you all for your support.
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Old Sep 9th 2020, 11:34 pm
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Default Re: Compassionate Leave COVID

Originally Posted by scotsista View Post
Update - my permission to travel has been approved in less than 24 hours. Very efficient! I had been hoping there might be an update provided around flying Aussies back home but there's only a link to an announcement Sco Mo made in July. I will be watching this space very closely to see what happens.

Now I need to begin the process of making the most well informed decision that I can under the circumstances. If anyone reading this hears any updates in regards to returning Aussie travellers, I'd be deeply appreciative if you could post an update on my thread. Thanking you all for your support.
Well done on your permission to travel news and sorry to hear about the situation you are in.

A friend of mine took 6 applications over 3 months to fly home to see their mother after COVID claimed their father. Good to hear this process is speeding up and seeing sense.

Good luck for the return travel too. We can't live in bubble Australia forever and those caps on numbers are affecting the amount of available flights, which is affecting people in your situation. Time to find ways to get everyone who wants to travel the ability to isolate for 2 weeks on return, and even for those who want to visit Australia for business, please, family etc.

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Old Sep 9th 2020, 11:51 pm
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Default Re: Compassionate Leave COVID

Thanks Beoz. I'm sorry to hear of your friend and can imagine the stress they must've been under in that situation. Thank God things are speeding up as you say. I do hope the travel situation will change as I would imagine there will be many many people in the same situation all over the world. Saying that, Australia seems to be one of the strictest countries travel wise. I can understand the dilemma but we've had 6 months to get our head around it (and to learn from mistakes) so it may actually be good timing for me as time progresses.
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Old Sep 10th 2020, 5:58 am
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Default Re: Compassionate Leave COVID

Originally Posted by scotsista View Post
Thanks Beoz. I'm sorry to hear of your friend and can imagine the stress they must've been under in that situation. Thank God things are speeding up as you say. I do hope the travel situation will change as I would imagine there will be many many people in the same situation all over the world. Saying that, Australia seems to be one of the strictest countries travel wise. I can understand the dilemma but we've had 6 months to get our head around it (and to learn from mistakes) so it may actually be good timing for me as time progresses.
Exactly ...... 6 months is enough, time to start making some plans to get those international borders functioning, people seeing their families, and the travel industry off the canvas.

While they are putting so much effort into a vaccine, a 15 minute test should be top of the priority list, and we could start to think about doing away with quarantine.

https://www.news.com.au/world/corona...a90c6cad97adb6

Last edited by Beoz; Sep 10th 2020 at 6:01 am.
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Old Sep 10th 2020, 11:11 am
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Default Re: Compassionate Leave COVID

So glad you’ve got your permission to leave. I hope, while you are there you can put some contingency plans into action - check out assisted living options perhaps - even if you can’t get them to move, maybe they will consider a move into supported accommodation. I don’t envy you the next few months! Good luck!

Last edited by quoll; Sep 10th 2020 at 11:16 am.
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Old Sep 11th 2020, 12:33 am
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Default Re: Compassionate Leave COVID

Originally Posted by Beoz View Post
Exactly ...... 6 months is enough, time to start making some plans to get those international borders functioning, people seeing their families, and the travel industry off the canvas.

While they are putting so much effort into a vaccine, a 15 minute test should be top of the priority list, and we could start to think about doing away with quarantine.

https://www.news.com.au/world/corona...a90c6cad97adb6
I agree. I am all for having measures in place to protect the most vulnerable in our society and I also get that even with healthy people, the virus is unpredictable and can leave long lasting symptoms. Yet, I do think this can all be balanced carefully whilst also opening up our limitations again.
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Old Sep 11th 2020, 12:36 am
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Default Re: Compassionate Leave COVID

Originally Posted by quoll View Post
So glad you’ve got your permission to leave. I hope, while you are there you can put some contingency plans into action - check out assisted living options perhaps - even if you can’t get them to move, maybe they will consider a move into supported accommodation. I don’t envy you the next few months! Good luck!
Thank you for your kind words and suggestions. I've had mum and dad on a waiting list for years now for what's like 'sheltered' accommodation. They're at the top of the priority lists already due to their numerous health conditions so this situation won't make any movements because of it. I will keep you updated on what happens. It's good to seek out different views and opinions as I want to ensure I am covering all bases and not going to leave here and suddenly think of some major complication when I'm in the air on that very loooong flight!
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Old Sep 11th 2020, 6:15 am
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Default Re: Compassionate Leave COVID

Originally Posted by scotsista View Post
Thank you for your kind words and suggestions. I've had mum and dad on a waiting list for years now for what's like 'sheltered' accommodation. They're at the top of the priority lists already due to their numerous health conditions so this situation won't make any movements because of it. I will keep you updated on what happens. It's good to seek out different views and opinions as I want to ensure I am covering all bases and not going to leave here and suddenly think of some major complication when I'm in the air on that very loooong flight!
Glad to hear things are moving the right way. I can reassure you that there is no likelhood of inbound flights being stopped altogether. There certainly are moves afoot to increase the number of arrivals, and this may mean some changes to the way some States maage quarantine. It will still exist but costs and locations may change. I'll post more when I know it.


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