Research Abstracts: Short breaks

TITLE: Use of respite care and coping strategies among Irish families of children with intellectual disabilities.
Authors: MACDONALD Elaine, FITZSIMONS Elaine, WALSH Patricia Noonan
Reference: British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 35(1), March 2007, pp62-68.

Abstract: The study aimed to identify patterns of respite use and coping strategies among family caregivers in a region of Ireland. First, the study asked what child and family characteristics were associated with use of respite care. Second, it explored coping strategies reported by family carers. The study was undertaken with a view to informing respite service provision and redressing a gap in the literature on family caregiving. Findings differed from former research by suggesting that the likelihood of families using respite care was not significantly related to presence of challenging behaviours or level of support required by children.

TITLE: Support for family carers of children and young people with developmental disabilities and challenging behaviour.
Reference: Child: Care, Health and Development, 32(2), March 2006, pp.159-163.

Abstract: This study gathered information about perceptions of family carers of children and young people with developmental disabilities and challenging behaviour of help, support and treatment. Sixty-six family carers completed postal questionnaires on the nature of, and their satisfaction with, services, professional help and advice received in respect of their family member’s challenging behaviour. Most carers were dissatisfied with support and services received. Almost half reported receiving no professional input or none that was helpful. More than two-thirds reported receiving respite care but, in one-third of these, the child had been excluded because of challenging behaviour.

TITLE: Still waiting? Families of disabled children in the UK waiting for short break services
Publisher: Shared Care Network, 2006, 16p, bibliog.

Abstract: The report reveals the following: the number of disabled children waiting for services which children wait longest for services what families think about short-break services the barriers schemes face in providing quality services and new developments in services which have reduced waiting lists and improved services to hard-to-place children.

TITLE: Breaking point: families still need a break
Publisher: Mencap, 2006, 24p.

Abstract: The report found that families caring for children and adults with a severe or profound learning disability are reaching breaking point. Seven out of 10 surveyed have come close to, or reached, breaking point because of a lack of short-break provision. The survey also revealed that one in three families have experienced a cut in their short-break services in the past year. Short breaks can be provided in a range of settings, for example care at home or an overnight stay at a respite centre. With six in 10 families surveyed not getting a break that fully meets their needs, Mencap is demanding breaks that are reliable, flexible and frequent. The charity is calling for more funding for short breaks to be addressed in the government’s 2007 comprehensive spending review and for a minimum standards guarantee.

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