Important news, this.
As noted in the sidebar to your right (under the heading "Places To Be"), Creating Respite Solutions for Nova Scotia Families of Children and Adult Children with Chronically High Needs will be holding two respite conferences this month;
- one in Yarmouth on Saturday, November 15, 2008 at Burridge Campus from 10am to 4:30pm, and
- one in Wolfville on Saturday, November 29, 2008 at Horton High School from 10am to 4:30pm.
Creating Respite Solutions for Nova Scotia Families of Children and Adult Children with Chronically High Needs : The Continuing Care, Provincial Pediatric Committee of the Nova Scotia Department of Health (2005) has reported that families caring for children of all ages with chronically high needs are at a major risk for crisis. Parents struggle to meet care-giving demands and exhaust family resources. Indeed, across the province parents report clinically high levels of stress, depression, and marital discord, all of which are well-known risk factors for parent illness, family breakdown, and the subsequent need to place the child/adult child outside of the family home. These harsh realities point to the pressing need for family support.no matter whether you are in the position of having no viable respite options, have been told that respite is available to you but just can't seem to see the need for it or 'get it together' enough to make it happen in your life or realize just how desperate the respite situation is for some families in this Province ... this is a place you need to be.
Respite has been taken up as a priority issue by a committee for community stakeholders and policy makers committed to developing support options for caregivers in Nova Scotia. It's about time, says I.
But, here's a newsflash for you, if we don't show up (yes, that's you and you and you), what do you think the chances are that the powers-that-be will take the view that respite isn't really an issue in Nova Scotia? That everything is hunky-dory and no further services or funding need to be provided?
Do we really want to go there?
So, please. Read on.
The Nova Scotia Coalition on Respite and Family Health and Wellness include representatives from families, community and health organizations, government, and researchers. The committee's main objective was to develop an innovative educational program based on their many years of personal experience, professional expertise, and on extensive community-based research. This proposal is the result of our pioneering and collaborative effort to respond to the needs of Nova Scotia families and their children with chronically high needs, regardless of age. We are offering an educational intervention specifically designed to enhance coping, empowerment, and self efficacy in parents and caregivers.I am a firm believer that nothing will ever change unless we make it change. For our loved ones. For our families. For ourselves.
Researchers at the IWK Health Center and Dalhousie University will carefully evaluate the process and outcomes of this endeavor. Our shared goal is to better understand the support pathways by which outcomes are optimized in these parents and caregivers. This proposed program of education and research is important for all of us who struggle to help these sons, daughters, and families. It is critical to educate parents and caregivers to develop meaningful respite solutions, supported by community- based evidence.
... Information and tools will be provided to enhance coping skills, empowerment, and self-efficacy in parents so that they are better positioned to develop meaningful respite solutions for their families... The outcome is a research-based curriculum for enhancing respite in families with chronically high needs.
Now here's the really good news. Not only is there no fee for the conference or your lunch, but funding is available for respite care and travel. And as a bonus, perhaps we will actually get to meet. In person. Apparently I will be one of the speakers at both the Wolfville any Yarmouth workshops. Or at least, so I've been told.
Hey, if nothing else, it will give you a break! Come with some friends, get some time away, 'do' lunch, take a break. Find out exactly why respite is so good for the soul.
All you need to do to register and get more info, is contact the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women at 1-800-565-8662. And do it quickly. Time, it is a' passing.
Update: The Yarmouth conference was great. We were fed well, made new contacts, met a lot of new people (and heard many compelling stories) and heard reiterated what so many of us with children with high needs are only too aware. But there was a real sense of commitment to change and I am hopeful that something positive will come out of this.
But only if you attend the Wolfville conference, that is!
Update II: My apologies to Paula Hutchinson (of The Continuing Care, Provincial Pediatric Committee of the Nova Scotia Department of Health), the the writer of the quoted material above, for not giving credit where it was due. However, the material I was received did not include any author's name so I could neither source nor credit it.
Paula, by the way, is the keynote speaker at the various conferences. She is both the parent of a child with special needs and a professional in the field. I have always believed that advocates who can wear the hats of both parent and professional are the ones that can truly make the most difference for the disability community. Come listen to her speak and see if you don't agree.