Scie: Short breaks must be family-centred

Services for disabled children should offer short breaks that meet the needs of the whole family rather than focus solely on the child, according to the Social Care Institute for Excellence.

The advice comes in Having a Break, a resource guide published this month based on Scie’s research.

Researchers found that disabled children want to lead ordinary lives and do not always want breaks away from home without their families and friends, while parents want a more “normal” relatonship with their disabled children.

Innovative types of break

The report says family-centred breaks based at home or in the community can be more effective than traditional alternatives because they can be more flexible and can support parents.

The report outlines seven innovative types of short break. These include two-hour activities for under-fives to provide stimulation and offer parents a break; home-based care in which a trained nurse or carer helps at certain times of day; and “transitions” summer holiday clubs to allow young people on the brink of adulthood to take part in activities such as bowling or swimming, but with support.

More research is needed into the benefits and financial costs of new types of short break, but experience suggests that they offer good value, the report concludes.

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Resource guide 14: Having a break: good practice in short breaks for families with children who have complex health needs and disabilities


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