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Funding & Disability

Respite and Carer Support

Respite Support is a short-term break for people and their carer/support person. A short-term break is usually away from home and overnight. Respite services are equipped to meet the needs of a disabled person while away from home and their usual support, and aim to create a positive experience for the person. Carer Support enables a usual caregiver to take a break from supporting a person by providing an alternative carer.

Respite support and carer support are different types of support which are closely related. They are described separately to provide clarity around the distinguishing features of each and how they work together.

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What is Carer Support?

Carer Support is a service funded by the Ministry of Health to help full-time unpaid carers and support people. This service offers the carer/support person a break by helping to pay for an alternative carer to support a person for an agreed number of days. The number of days is based on an assessment of need.

Carer Support is available to the person or people providing full-time unpaid support to a person in their own or the family home. An assessment by a Needs Assessment Service Co-ordination Service (NASC) Agency will determine if the carer is eligible for Carer Support. Any full-time unpaid carer may contact a NASC agency for an assessment. An assessment of a carer's need for support will be considered alongside the needs assessment of the person they support.

How is Carer Support arranged?

Based on the needs assessment, a NASC Service Coordinator will allocate the full-time carer with a number of Carer Support Days. There is a maximum number of Carer Support Days that the full-time carer can use for a one-year period from the date of the needs assessment. The full-time unpaid carer, assessed as needing Carer Support, is generally able to choose how they use their support days, and, in most instances, co-ordinate their relief support. A person can get relief support from a respite service.

Carer Support payments are intended to be a reimbursement towards the costs of providing relief support and are not regarded as a salary or wage.

What is Respite Support?

Respite Support is designed to provide short-term breaks for carers, whilst providing a positive experience for the disabled person.

A respite service provides a safe alternative environment for a disabled person, with support staff who are able to meet the person’s disability needs. Respite support is in general designed to be:

• of a short term duration and intermittent
• a positive, stimulating and worthwhile experience
• available in community settings
• part of the support network available to a person and their carers/family/whanau
• accessed when a carer or family/whanau member requires a short term break from their normal support/care role.

How does a person get Respite Support?

An assessment by a Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) agency is completed to determine whether a person meets the eligibility criteria for disability support services. The needs of the disabled person are identified, the amount of respite support is determined and support is provided to help those involved to find a suitable respite service.

Use of respite support may be planned so that it is used on a regular basis for a pre-arranged time period, for example, overnight once a week or every third weekend. Respite support may also be unplanned and is available in times of emergency or unforeseen event.

What about Respite Services for children and young people?

In 2006 the Ministry of Health, contracted 3 organisations to provide 18 respite beds. This created the following out of home, overnight options for children and young people in the Auckland region:

Children (under 16 years) with high needs relating to their intellectual disability and/or autism spectrum disorder - the Open Home Foundation provides a service for children and their families in the eastern region of South and Central Auckland.

Young people (over 16 years) with high needs related to their intellectual disability and/or autism spectrum disorder - the NZCare Group provides an Auckland regional service with a priority for people aged between 16 and 30 years of age.

Young people (over 16 years) with high needs related to their physical disability - two providers, NZCare Group and Laura Fergusson Trust, provides services where people aged between 16 and 30 years of age have priority. NZCare Group provides a regional (across Auckland) service with a focus on people resident in the southern part of Auckland. Laura Fergusson Trust provides a regional service with a focus on the northern part of the Auckland region.

The Ministry of Health funds a Respite Coordinator within Taikura Trust to ensure responsive and timely access across the region.

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