Website 2021 Innovative and Exemplary


Statement of Purpose

While there is shared agreement that offering respite to caregivers to temporarily relieve them of constant caregiving responsibilities is a worthwhile endeavor, there is scant research to support the best ways to offer respite so that benefits from receiving respite accrue to caregivers, care recipients and their families. 

Myriad important questions about respite await answers. How should providers go about establishing trusting and lasting relationships with caregivers and care recipients? What is dosage and frequency of respite are necessary for caregivers to realize decreases in stress? What personal qualities are important to identify and nurture in paid providers and volunteers?  Can respite programs reduce the need for out-of-home placements for care recipients? 

To answer these questions and more, to demonstrate the merit of respite services, and to ensure accountability to caregivers and families, each year ARCH recognizes Innovative and Exemplary Respite Services from a pool of applicants in North America.  

The overriding purpose of ARCH’s Innovative and Exemplary Services initiative is to establish a registry of programs and services to help advance our collective understanding of what respite best practices mean. We accomplish this by documenting the ways and the extent to which applicant services meet criteria, each carefully defined and observable, in seven key areas: 

  1. using an evidence-based or evidence-informed approach; 

  2. having written goals and objectives; 

  3. having a program/service manual or guide to facilitate replication with fidelity; 

  4. offering person and family-centered services; 

  5. having a professional development plan; 

  6. having an evaluation plan and collecting data according to that plan; 

  7. and being sustainable as an organization. 

Services meeting all criteria in full are Innovative and Exemplary, and are especially valuable in furthering our collective understanding of respite. These services clearly define how respite occurs in their organization, document that respite is occurring as intended, and they show beneficial changes occurring in the lives of caregivers and/or care recipients related to the respite services they used.

Services identified as Innovative use a delivery approach that is novel and/or unique to a specific community or population for whom it is intended, and meet most criteria as defined in the ARCH framework, but have not yet implemented a rigorous evaluation of their service that allows replication of their approach.

ARCH also recognizes Rising Star services that offer person and family-centered services, but have not yet met all criteria for Innovative or Exemplary practice. Rising Stars offer respite services in ways that are readily recognizable as worthwhile, and that we hope will be documented and evaluated in the future to demonstrate their merit and allow replication by others.

For Selection Criteria, see Definition of Innovative and Exemplary.