Work based assignment:M3.01
The Joint Service for Disabled Children is a partnership developed by Enfield’s Children’s trust. It comprises specialist, inclusive, voluntary, health and education services to support and promote opportunities for all disabled children and their families in Enfield. The service is open to any disabled children and young people who have significant global delay, autism or life threatening conditions under the age of 18. In my role as inclusion development manager I am responsible for enabling disabled children and young people to access mainstream activities of their choice within the borough. I provide the resources, staff and training for any universal activity to support identified disabled children. This ensures that all disabled children and their families are supported to take part in and enjoy local community life, whenever possible using local childcare facilities, leisure and recreational activities. I am also part of the management team tasked with generating new ideas to improve the lives of disabled children and their families. It is this role that we were presented with the following problem - Significant numbers of parents have presented to the service requesting over night respite (essentially a night away for their child at a recognised respite provider). The cost of over night short breaks (respite) is highly significant in the services overall budget, far in excess of any other service we provide, and even a small increase would put a huge strain on resources. Far more cost effective is to build support mechanisms around the child and family in their own homes. This is done by building packages of support which provide short breaks but without the huge cost of outside provider overnights. So in order to understand this issue more we firstly needed to ascertain what it was about the overnight breaks which were so appealing and see if we could find another possible solution. We decided to utilise our parent’s forum to generate ideas. Understandably this generated a wide array of reasons for why parents valued over nights so highly, however there were significant threads and themes which consistently appeared and by far the most significant was that a high proportion of parents identified the need for a full night sleep, something they are unable to achieve due to being disturbed by their disabled child. In addition when asked about factors which significantly affect their quality of life sleep deprivation was one of the most significant factors right across the spectrum of need and demographic. There is a wealth of evidence to support the notion that sleep problems are far higher in the disabled population than in mainstream families (Pahl and Quine 2004)
The service holds an away day twice a year and part of the session was given to a brain storming session around the issue of sleep problems and what we as a service should do to address them. By involving the team in this process this will ensure that any ideas generated will have team ownership. A number of ideas were put forward, but by consensus there were four areas which were felt were appropriate responses to the issue of demand for increase in over night provision.
The first option was for the team to think more laterally in terms of what we offer to parents. This could be done by identifying key areas in the day that parents were struggling with and identify additional support during these times. This could be around bed times and waking times etc. and in turn offering parents more support to recharge batteries through offering additional short breaks (a short break is an activity such as playschemes or after school groups etc). Another solution would be to analyse what the service is spending in other areas and cut other budgets significantly to fund additional overnights and in a similar vein to task the team with finding more cost...