Short breaks for carers: a scoping review

Prepared by Diane Seddon and Louise Prendergast, Wales Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research, School of Health Sciences, Bangor University and funded by Shared Care Scotland

Shared Care Scotland, working alongside the UK Short Breaks Research & Practice Development Group, commissioned Bangor University to map and summarise all the research undertaken into short breaks.

The purpose of this scoping review is to better understand the research evidence about short breaks for carers (called respite care in the U.S.) and what this research tells us about the impact of short breaks for carers. By reviewing the available evidence and identifying gaps in the research literature, this scoping review shall support the work of a newly established UK Research and Practice Development Group on Meaningful Short Breaks for Carers, helping to shape its research vision. The Group, which has support from academic and practice colleagues across the four United Kingdom regions, shall take forward research and practice on meaningful short breaks for carers that promotes interdependent caring relationships and benefits both carers and people with complex support needs.

This short report provides an overview of the findings. A summary table (Appendix 1) presents further details, outlining key findings and recommendations for practice development from the existing body of published research, as well as gaps in the evidence base. This report focuses on carers supporting older adults, including people with dementia. Where appropriate the experiences of parent carers are highlighted to illustrate similarities and differences in carer support needs and their experiences of short breaks provision.

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