Tools and resources to support Saskatchewan’s disability services sector in strengthening person-centred practices and culture.
The person-centred journey in Saskatchewan has come about from the grassroots level, evolving to include a system level approach. Our work in Saskatchewan has been informed by research into many other jurisdictions as well as extensive consultation and collaboration right at home. What we have developed with the Saskatchewan Person-Centred Framework is what works for us as a province and community. It is the result of government and communities working together.
There is a synergy that has been created as several separate pieces are now becoming connected. The guiding principles of the Comprehensive Planning and Support Policy (CPP&SP) in 2007 set the stage for our vision of quality disability supports. A review of this policy in 2012 further informed how we could move forward in the spirit of continuous quality improvement. The Saskatchewan Disability Strategy solidified and confirmed the vision we have as a Province today for services for people experiencing disability. Our framework is further evidence of how services are evolving towards a common vision.
The framework aims to support the disability community in becoming more person-centered through the development of an understanding of how person-centered culture could be experienced from the point of view of the individual, their family and other stakeholders. It provides the opportunity for self-reflection and the development of a mutual understanding from a variety of perspectives.
The development of a person-centred culture is further supported by the “Saskatchewan Disability Strategy: People Before Systems: Transforming the Experience of Disability”. In 2012, Government committed to developing a disability strategy in consultation with the disability community. It is a 10-year comprehensive strategy that articulates the vision and actions needed to move our disability service system forward to better serve people who experience disability to live the life they choose. The strategy recommendations were developed jointly by a Citizen Consultation Team, and seven ministries (Social Services, Advanced Education, Economy, Education, Government Relations, Health and Justice & Corrections).
Four drivers of transformation to support the strategy have been developed:
1. Impact of Disability
This approach shifts away from the medical model (diagnosis) of disability to an understanding of disability based upon its impact on the individual. While most disabling conditions can be permanent, the “experience of disability” can be reduced by the way society responds to it. Changes can be made to reduce the impact that environment and circumstances play in the experience of disability.
2. Promoting and Protecting Human Rights
People who attended the consultations expressed they are exhausted over their fight for fair treatment. The rights of people with disabilities must be better understood, observed and protected. The strategy will help our province address the obligations contained in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
3. Accessibility and Inclusion Benefit Us All
The typical approach to designing buildings, communities, programs, and services uses a standard or normal range of human functioning. There is a tendency to address an individual’s disability by focusing on the exceptional or special needs that fall outside the normal range. The strategy aims to change systems and environments to reduce and, where possible, eliminate the need to adapt to individual circumstances. Investing in accessibility to meet a broader range of functioning will create a more convenient and better citizen experience for all. Universal design is an example.
4. Person-Centred Service
This is about simplifying our unnecessarily complex disability service system to be more fair, transparent and responsive. Disability programs and services are often designed with system needs as a priority. People are required to adapt to program rules and processes in order to receive support. Feedback from the consultation sessions informed that Government systems are too complex and difficult to navigate.
In addition, “Putting People Before systems” is one area outlined within the strategy with recommendations reflecting the desired outcomes indicated below:
Personal outcomes identified for this area include:
- I have choice and control over disability services and supports.
- My needs are assessed fairly.
- I can get the right supports at the right time.
System outcomes for this area include:
- There are opportunities for independence, choice and control.
- Systems are seamless and coordinated (no wrong door).
- Services are equitable with respect to support needs (impact).
Some of the actions in the strategy related to person-centred systems and services include:
- Develop and promote consistent person-centred understanding.
- Develop policies and processes that help people experiencing disability have choice and control programs and services that serve them.
- Establish information sharing procedures across government programs and third party partners.
- Streamline entry points for accessing disability programs and services.