Big goals, small steps

Short term accommodation (previously known as respite care) can support people with a disability and their primary carer to maintain a positive relationship by providing time for both to experience new things.  OC Connections offers short term accommodation options for people aged eighteen years and over and aims to provide new experiences and new conversations in a new environment.

Short term accommodation is also becoming a popular stepping stone to assist participants to build skills required to live a more independent life in supported accommodation, as is the case with participants Joey and Ben.

Joey and Ben are new to our short term accommodation program.  Their goal is to transition into supported accommodation and they are using OC Connections short-term accommodation as part of the transition.  Both families and staff have been encouraged by the enthusiasm of both men and the positive effect it has had on them.

“Joey is very relaxed when he is here,” says support worker, Caitlin. “From the first night he stayed he was relaxed and has been happy to stay each time.”Ben is also very happy in short term accommodation. “He is very excited to come,” says Cailtin, “He just loves it here” and this shows when you visit him.  On the morning of our photoshoot, Ben answers the door with gusto and enthusiastically takes us through the house, looking for a suitable shot.  He finds it hard to contain his excitement.

“His independence has improved already and will continue to improve as he spends more time doing things for himself”, says Ben’s mum. “He gets very excited about going and he can’t stop grinning in anticipation of going to his new home!”

Participants work towards their NDIS goals whilst in short term accommodation. As most participants are coming straight from the family home, it’s a good opportunity to build on independent skills around the house including things like assisting with preparing a meal, doing their washing, house cleaning and learning about kitchen safety.

We have already had a lot of success in building independence skills with our participants in Short Term Accommodation and families have reported that they  have already noticed a difference when they return home! (Whitney, Team Leader)

Participants stay anywhere from one or two nights to a full week, depending on the participant’s preferences and what they hope to get out of the stay.  For those who find it challenging to change their current routines, staff will work with them to transition slowly into short-term accommodation, starting with one night and slowly building up to a longer stay.  Since short term accommodation has opened, staff are finding that participants are transitioning faster than expected, showing that they are enjoying their time in our short term accommodation and look forward to coming back again.

According to Team Leader, Whitney Kendall, Thursday nights are a very popular night to stay as most participants love to attend the weekly disco and are supported going to and from and during the event.

Thursday nights has been a big hit and has been a great opportunity to build on social networks. Most participants who have stayed on Thursday nights have now formed friendships with people outside of their usual circles which has then lead to sharing meals at each other’s homes or going on outings together.