Evaluation brief: Impact on service users of community day services’ cessation
Keywords:Community day services, Ministry of Health Disability Support Services
INTRODUCTION: This is a brief of a year-long evaluative study and service analysis undertaken by Disability Support Link (DSL), Waikato DHB.
APPROACH: This briefing provides an insight into the evaluative study on the associated impact of cessation of community day services which are key components within the disability sector’s service provision. These day services provide an integral outlet of meaningful activities for disabled adults whose current needs impact on their employment. The focus was on analysing repository information over the last decade. The data sources include documented narratives from the needs assessment process and longitudinal resourcing information. In addition, contemporary literature on the role of day activity centres were sourced to identify similar work within this area. The subsequent findings were submitted to the Ministry of Health of Aotearoa New Zealand.
FINDINGS: An association was found between service users’ lack of access to day services and initial short-term savings to publicly funded disability services budget. However, initial savings were essentially overshadowed by subsequent, increasing, costs over time. There are also associated impacts on disabled adults, such as reports of increasing isolation, decreasing sense of meaningful structured day activities, declining daily functions and possibly resultant maladaptive behaviours. Notably, these issues are not just about funding and resourcing as they impact on disabled people’s rights and social connections.
CONCLUSION: This study indicates that cessation and or reduction of day community services derived initial short-term cost savings but subsequent long-term increased support needs requires more costly support packages. Future efficacy lies in further reviewing the positive impact of health-related community day services for people with disabilities; an iteration of day service contracts that produces meaning to the individual and cost efficiency to public health spending.
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