An evaluation of the impact of the "MAISS" needs assessment concept in influencing the empowerment of people with disabilities : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Rehabilitation at Massey University
MAISS, (Managed Access to Integrated Support Services) as defined within Midland Health's service requirement definition, will be the single means of access to all support services for people with disabilities living within the Midland Health region. It must, therefore be considered, if not as the single most significant service purchased for people with disabilities then as one of the major disability service initiatives to have developed from the 1992 health reforms. For people with disabilities, the manner in which the MAISS services are delivered, the level of skill of the people delivering the services, and the subsequent availability of flexible, responsive service provision, will be the test of the Governments ability to achieve stated health reform outcomes. These outcomes were clearly articulated by people with disabilities themselves within the Self Help and Empowerment document, developed from the Consensus Development Conferences of the Core Services Committee. This research took the form of an evaluation of the impact which MAISS has had on the expressed feelings of self help and empowerment for one group of significant services users. The MAISS concept as delivered by one of three contracted providers, is examined to determine whether or not MAISS services are perceived by people with disabilities as having resulted in an enhancement of their perceived empowerment or mastery over the decisions which impact upon their lives. Judgments are made on the extent to which the MAISS concept and its implementation is seen to be supporting the enablement of people with disabilities. The research identifies those aspects of service delivery which most significantly contribute to expressed feelings of empowerment. Investigation was undertaken through the development of a structured questionnaire. This questionnaire was used as the single means of data collection. The questionnaire was developed from a conceptual framework based upon the New Zealand Standards for Needs Assessment developed and promoted by the Ministry of Health. The key recommendations made within this study relate to the need for assessment services to utilize assessment practices which foster the integrity and internal validity of the assessment process. The study also recommends that there needs to be a greater sharing of knowledge and accuracy of information in interactions between providers and consumers of services. Finally the research notes the need for continued investigation into the concept and implementation of services as defined within MAISS as such services continue to act as the major gatekeeper for people with disabilities seeking access to essential support services.