Respite care needs to be part of the family support system

By Jeffrey Chan, PhD
Yooralla, Australia

Respite services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their caregivers are important. However, accessing respite services continue to be a problem.

What did you do in your research?
We examined existing published research on respite services including topics, such as the demand for services, access issues, and current guidelines. It was also important to understand the shared knowledge of respite services among all individuals involved (family, service providers & policy makers). The goal was to find out more about respite services and find ways to improve the process for families.

What did you find out?
A new idea of respite care seen as a continuum of integrated service was found. Families, policy makers and service providers would work together to achieve the goal – accessible respite care. This shared understanding is a move towards integrated service development that would provide more support and give families more control.

What are the take-home messages?
Respite care can be thought of as one element of a continuum of integrated services along which the responsibility of caring is distributed with the same goal. The goal is the availability of accessible respite care services. Respite care needs to be part of the family support system, so that families won’t be as burdened and receive the help they need.

To learn more about these findings contact Jeffrey Chan.

Full Journal Article
Chan, J., Merriman, B., Parmenter, T., & Stancliffe, R. (2012). Rethinking respite policy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 9(2), 120–126.