PLUS Direct Short Breaks
A story by PLUS
PLUS provided a bespoke respite service to families and carers with a disabled child living in Forth Valley area.
PLUS Short Breaks put parents and carers in the driving seat when it came to choosing where, when, how and by whom the respite breaks are provided.
What PLUS Direct Short Breaks did
During the past 12 months we provided an induction for 10 staff so that they could become involved in the delivery of the Short Break Service. Staff were recruited from an existing team of sessional staff who had experience of working on other PLUS projects. Staff were offered the opportunity to work as part of the Short Break Team if they had demonstrated that they were reliable, confident and competent in handling different situations that could arise when supporting a child or young person with disabilities in the community or in a home setting.
From 1 February 2014 to 31 January 2015 a total of 652 breaks were provided for parents/carers and the children and young people themselves. There has been a tremendous variety of breaks provided including farm trips, cinema trips, picnics in the park and staying at home baking cookies. There was a broad mix of breaks taking place either out in the local community or at the family home.
Some breaks involved bringing the child or young person along to an organised play session at PLUS so that they could spend time with peers. Other breaks involved 1:1 support with a staff member at home doing arts and crafts or watching a DVD. Parents and carers reported spending their break time with their other children or relaxing and taking time to themselves, perhaps to go shopping or out for an evening.
What PLUS has learned
This funding has made a tremendous difference to PLUS by enabling us to try a completely different approach to the way we deliver our service. PLUS traditionally provided organized, age-appropriate events for children and young people. Our experience of delivering a more personalized service was limited.
Whilst PLUS continue to offer many group events, we have been able to develop and establish the delivery of a bespoke respite service. PLUS have been able to make their respite service more personalized by encouraging families to be involved in choosing who will provide support for their child or young person.
All families who request a Short Break service from PLUS are given the opportunity to read staff profiles and to meet staff prior to any break taking place. Prior to delivering Direct Short Breaks, PLUS had not provided any service in the Falkirk area and as an organization we were unknown to local agencies, parents and carers who may benefit from using our service. By liaising with the local Carer Network and publicizing our service with the Local Authority we were able to establish and deliver a service for families new to PLUS.
PLUS are now regularly invited to attend relevant meetings for care providers in the Falkirk area.