I posed a question on Twitter the other day asking carers what they thought was most fair when it came to allotting overnight respite: Each family receiving the same amount of overnight respite per year, or, each family being assessed on an individual basis considering such factors as: do they receive overnight respite through another facility, do they receive in home nursing and/or respite support, do they have a support network of family and friends, the size and age of child, the complexity of care, does the parent have any health issues themselves, and so on.
All of the answers supported the idea that overnight respite allocation be done on an individual, needs-based assessment to be most fair.
There were also some replies from other countries which are worthy noting. For example, in Australia and Canada, funding is given directly to the parent/carer to determine how, when, and where to best obtain the respite that best suites their family’s individual needs. It could be in-home nursing respite is best for them. It could be that in a respite facility works best for them. But at the end of the day, they are free to tailor their respite based on the unique needs of their own family.
Can Ireland be this progressive when it comes to respite funding?
Will the current respite centres, many of which are charities, consider changing how they allot respite nights to families?
We have plenty to discuss regarding reform to carer and disability services in Ireland.
We need to get government, charities, carer organisations, and families around the table for this discussion. To be absolutely clear, these type of decisions should not be made without consultation from those that are most affect – the families who desperately need the respite. Unfortunately, the way it stands now, many of those decisions are made in just such a way.
What reforms would you like to see regarding respite services in Ireland? And to go back to my original question at the beginning of this blog, which way of allotting respite nights do you consider most fair? Let me hear from you.