Respite Care Benefits Unproven Despite High Demand

Armen Hareyan's picture

Caregiving for Elderly

Family members and friends often need support as they cope with being the main caregivers for their older, sick or disabled loved ones.

One source of such support is respite care, but there is no clear proof that it benefits those who use it, according to a new review from England.

Respite care is a service provided for those who are sick, frail or disabled in settings such as nursing homes, residential homes, hospices and day centers. Caregivers use respite care for temporary relief from some of the stress and burden of their responsibility.


University of York researchers aimed to assess whether different types of respite care are effective or cost-effective when targeted at caregivers of frail older people

The reviewers found that the positive effects of respite on older people and those who care for them are modest. However, they found no reliable evidence that respite "adversely affects" those who receive care.

The review is published in the latest issue of Health Technology Assessment, the international journal series of the Health Technology Assessment programme, part of the National Institute for Health Research in the United Kingdom.

The 22 studies evaluated included five conducted in the United Kingdom and 11 in the United States. The studies looked at "older" persons