The Ministry of Health released Transforming Respite: Disability Support Services Draft Respite Strategy 2017 to 2022 for feedback from the disability sector on 30 March 2017.
This report presents our analysis of the messages we received from this sector engagement. It also contains feedback from youth with disabilities about their respite experiences and aspirations for the future.
The final strategy is now available: Transforming Respite: Disability Support Services Respite Strategy 2017 to 2022.
Summary of main points
Overall, there was strong support for the future direction proposed in the strategy. People commented that it was positive and forward thinking. They welcomed the concept of flexible respite budgets and changes to Carer Support rules and administration.
They were keen for more detail on how the strategy would be implemented and were eager for the actions to be implemented as soon as possible.
In their feedback, people expressed the importance of:
- providing clear guidance on how flexible respite budgets could be used appropriately
- ensuring there is assistance for people to find and access respite options and to manage their flexible respite budget
- having enough suitably trained people to provide relief care
- having safe and meaningful respite options available, including activities during business hours for adults with disabilities who live in their family home.
People also commented on the need to ensure:
- equity of access to respite services for people living in rural locations
- that there are both online and other ways of sharing information about respite options
- providers of respite care are able to remain financially sustainable
- quality service delivery and robust quality feedback systems.
As well as expressions of overall support, we also received some suggestions for changes that could be made to the strategy. Of note was the need to communicate more clearly that respite for disabled adults who live in their family home is included in scope, as well as respite options for carers of children and young people. Support for carers who are the spouse or child of the disabled person is also in scope.
People welcomed the opportunity for a co-design process to determine how to provide respite for people with high and complex needs.
There were mixed views on the proposal to find a new term for the word ‘respite’. ‘Family/whānau support’ or ‘short breaks’ were favoured options.
Feedback we received from children and young people with disabilities found that their current experiences of respite are for the most part positive, with some room for improvement. With some exceptions, most young people said they felt safe at respite.
The children and young people had intellectual disability, physical disability, autism or multiple and profound disability. The activities they want to do while at respite are the same as most people of their age are likely to want to do (eg, go to movies, play computer games, go to the park or beach).
The children and young people gave perspectives that had not been captured in our discussions with adults. Their new perspectives showed their desire to:
- establish a supportive community around their respite services
- ensure that their parents are well supported and welcomed within the respite service
- have more of a say about the types of activities on offer at respite and about how the service is run.