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Extra Support Required For Those In Christchurch With Disabilities

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

For those people with disabilities in the Canterbury area, recent events have really brought home the practical implications of their reliance on support workers and disability providers.

New Zealand Disability Network Chief Executive Officer Sandie Waddell says that disability providers such as IDEA and NZCare have been extraordinary in their support of people with disabilities.

"You can imagine how terrifying it is for someone whose is dependent on someone else to help them move during an earthquake. Or for someone who may not fully understand what a 'state of emergency' is, for example," says Ms Waddell.

"These are just some of the challenges faced by providers in the area, in addition to the general recovery effort. Some residential services have had to evacuate their houses and the people they support have been moved to alternative accommodation in an unaffected area, while others have been busy ensuring rostered shifts are covered due to staff shortages."

Donna Mitchell from NZCare, a provider that supports over 200 people with physical and intellectual disabilities in the Christchurch area, says that staff have been amazing in upholding their duty of care for the people they support.

"The people we support are always our number one priority and their safety during this time is paramount. It is good to see our emergency planning has been very effective in practical application. The emotional impacts of the quakes are starting to show and we have brought in specialist counselors to work with the people we support who are showing signs of distress," says Ms Mitchell.

"We have been overwhelmed by the generous response from our staff, who have been as concerned for our clients, as they have been for their families."

The Disability Support Network would like to acknowledge the dedication of the disability providers in the Canterbury area who have worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of the people they support.

"There is still much work to be done in the coming months and providers are committed to supporting their staff and people with disabilities during this challenging time," says Ms Waddell.

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