Respite care is an essential part of the support needed to enable a disabled person to continue to live at home, being cared for by their own family. A short break of a few hours or a few days protects the health and wellbeing of family members who have caring responsibilities and the disabled person they are supporting.
But in order to take a break the disabled person still needs to be able to access the same quality of care that their family members have been providing. The disabled person should have the choice of where this care is provided, whether in a residential facility or in their own home. Any residential stay should be in an appropriate environment which caters for other people of a similar age.
In June 2010, having heard a number of concerns from members about the amount and type of respite care available in Guernsey, the Guernsey Disability Alliance (GDA) teamed up with the Guernsey MS Society to investigate the issue. Together the two charities raised funds to pay for a research project looking into all aspects of respite care provision in Guernsey. A company called Islands Analysis interviewed a wide selection of professionals involved in respite care provision. Those interviewed came from various parts of HSSD, the Education Dept, local charities and private providers. The resulting report is entitled “Respite provision for working age adults and children in Guernsey”.
Notably, rather than focusing on one particular group of disabled people, the project compared respite provision across all the different impairment groups – learning disability, physical & sensory disability and mental health. The results were presented to the Social Policy Group (part of the Policy Council) and will be used to inform the Disability Strategy.
One important finding was that respite care can only be provided in a residential or nursing home, or a hospital, because it is funded from Guernsey Long-Term Care Insurance Scheme. Providing respite care in the person’s home, which some GDA members would prefer and would increase supply, will require a change in the law.
Write to Shelaine using our Contact Us page if you would like an electronic copy of the Respite Report.