Transforming Respite is designed to give disabled people and their family members greater choice, control and flexibility when accessing and using respite services.

“Thousands of New Zealanders look after disabled loved ones in their homes. We know this care can put extra pressure on families and, for some, just leaving home can be a major logistical exercise,” Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner says.

“Respite services enable carers to take regular breaks, which is incredibly important for the health and wellbeing of the whole family.”

Development of the strategy included a user survey, engagement with providers and sector groups, release of a draft strategy for disability sector feedback, public workshops, meeting the families of children with complex disabilities, and youth engagement.

“We’ve received some really positive feedback from disabled people and their families about the changes, which include more flexible personal budgets with fewer restrictions, easier administration and payment methods, better access to information about the options available and support to find and use those options.”

The new respite strategy aligns with the Government’s recent developments in this area, including Enabling Good Lives and the transformation of the Disability Support System.

Wagner says the transformed disability support system has benefited from the hard work of the co-design group, including people with disabilities, who have worked intensively over several months to create and shape the framework for the new system.

The new system will include:

  • An information hub with a number of ways to make contact and be contacted;
  • Capability funding for disabled people and whānau to build their skills;
  • A new funding model which reduces assessment and provides opportunities for investment, as well as increasing choice and control;
  • Support to expand peer and whānau networks;
  • An easy to use information collection tool which tracks how things are going for disabled people, whānau, providers and the system;
  • A personal information profile managed by disabled people and whanau;
  • A monitoring approach which reduces compliance and is proportionate to the amount of funding people receive; and
  • National and local governance groups with disabled people and whānau representatives.

“Disabled people will experience a real and meaningful difference with the new system. There will be a lot less red tape, more choice about the support on offer, and a range of easy ways to find information through peer or whānau networks and online,” Wagner says.

Work will now begin on the detailed design, which will roll out first in Mid-Central — Palmerston North, Horowhenua, Manawatu, Otaki and Tararua districts — on July 1, 2018.

“There will be more opportunities for disabled people and others from the disability sector to contribute to the detailed design, and we’re looking at how to do that.”

For more information on the disability support system, visit here. For a copy of the respite strategy, visit here

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