Statistics show respite breaks more essential than ever

One of the first jobs each year for the Leuchie management team is to review our statistics for the previous year.

Behind the figures lies a fascinating insight into two areas.

Firstly, as you’d expect, the data we collect about each of our guests gives us an in-depth view of the people who come to Leuchie for respite breaks. Secondly, it gives as an up-to-date picture of the wider world we operate in, highlighting how the needs of people with disabilities, and their carers, are changing.

The biggest lesson we’ve taken from our 2017 figures is that the need for respite breaks has never been greater.

The number of people using our service keeps growing, and last year we provided more respite care to more people from a wider range of backgrounds than ever before.

On the positive side, this growth signals we are reaching more people than ever to make them aware of the services we provide. There are however two other significant factors behind the growth. The number of people with long term conditions, and consequently the number of unpaid carers looking after them, continue to grow significantly year-on-year. Added to this is the increasing shortage of respite places available, with numerous high profile closures to respite facilities recently.

The figures also highlight that more people are benefitting from the preventative services we offer, while they are on a Leuchie break. These services are designed to anticipate potential problem areas and tackle them before they become an issue or need acute care. These include wheelchair adjustments, pressure sore mapping, and physiotherapy support, all of which are in short supply in the community.

So what will we do with this wealth of data we’ve gathered over the past 12 months?  As well as helping us plan our provision for 2018, it is also informing how Leuchie should develop in the future to meet changing demand. For example, in conjunction with Queen Margaret University we are currently exploring the potential for an ambitious Leuchie Outreach Programme that would allow us to take our services to more people than ever before.

Who said that statistics were boring!

Mairi O'Keefe, Chief Executive, Leuchie House. Published in The East Lothian Courier, 18 January 2018.