Consumers with disabilities
HDC’s work for people who use disability services contributes to better, safer, and more equitable care. Deputy Commissioner, Disability Rose Wall works to increase awareness among consumers living with disability about their rights under the Code, and ensure HDC is accessible and responsive to all people.
Rose and the Disability Services Team encourage disabled people and their whānau and support staff to raise concerns, and encourage disability support providers to improve their complaints processes.
The team also focus on making HDC’s own educational resources and complaints processes more accessible, and building the capability of staff through disability responsiveness training and increasing in-house knowledge and experience of the disability sector.
HDC monitors themes and trends in complaints regarding disability services, and promotes understanding of Code rights through educational seminars and accessible resources.
Video stories for people with learning disabilities
Recently, HDC and the Nationwide Health and Disability Advocacy Service released a series of videos to help people with learning disabilities think about their own experiences with using disability services, and their rights under the Code.
The videos were designed and delivered in partnership with disabled people, with disabled actors employed in main roles and contributing to the development of the script and scenarios. They were produced by Film for Change Aotearoa and made locally in Wellington.
Actors from the new video stories for people with learning disabilities
Each video has a closed captions option, and the closed captions and slides have been transcribed into Word documents. Deaf Aotearoa has also created New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) for each video.
HDC is focused on empowering disabled consumers by enabling them to exercise choice, control, and supported decision-making. We recently worked with the Strategy, Innovation and Performance Disability Responsiveness Team of the three DHBs in the Lower North Island to revise the Health Passport booklets and guide book.
The new versions are known as My Health Passport, and they are powerful tools for communicating with providers about consumers’ individual support needs.
The resources will continue to evolve, and work is under way to ensure that they stay relevant and accessible for all people.
Last year also saw the release of Going to Hospital?, a plain language resource for people who are unfamiliar with public hospital services and want to learn more about what to expect as a patient. It offers tips on how to prepare for hospital, useful contacts, and a glossary of common words used in hospital, including some in te reo Māori. It is available in easy read format.
HDC is now working on a companion booklet to sit alongside Going to Hospital?, which will offer advice for consumers on getting the best from their interactions with community healthcare services.
Reaching disabled consumers and their whānau
“It’s a challenge to reach individuals who may not be exposed to information about the rights they have, or who might not find that information accessible,” says Deputy Commissioner, Disability Rose Wall.
The Nationwide Health and Disability Advocacy Service does a lot of work in this area. This includes visits to residential homes and vocational services and working with consumers living with disabilities and their whānau and support networks to educate them and to help resolve low-level concerns.
HDC’s Disability Services Team also runs sessions with groups of disabled consumers and their whānau, connecting with them via disability organisations. At these sessions, people learn about the Code, the role of HDC, and how making a complaint can help to improve the system for everyone.
“Often, consumers living with disabilities don’t have much choice in their provider, especially if the care they’re receiving is specialised, and they might be reluctant to speak up for fear of rocking the boat,” says Rose. “It’s important for consumers to know what they’re entitled to and how to make a complaint, and to ensure that they don’t feel at risk from complaining.”
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