A research agenda for respite care. Deliberations of an expert panel of researchers, advocates and funders

ARCH, the National Respite Network and Resource Center in the United States of America identified that evidence-based research on respite care has, to large extent, been lacking.

Across ages, needs and settings, respite is based upon the premise that providing caregivers periodic relief from daily, ongoing caregiving responsibilities will directly benefit them in terms of their physical health, immediate and long-term psychological health, and social-emotional relationships with family members. These benefits are assumed to result in secondary benefits for care receivers and even larger societal benefits in the form of cost benefits or improved employee productivity. Some research studies point to the merits of these assumptions. However, evidence-based research supporting this premise - or going beyond it to demonstrate how to best provide respite care that results in maximum benefits - has not been available.

This report presents the findings of an expert panel composed of academics, researchers, service providers, advocates, policymakers and administrators representing a range of age groups, disabilities and professional disciplines. Over a period of 18 months the panel explored the current status of respite research, proposed strategies to overcome barriers to research, and developed a plan to encourage rigorous research in key areas.

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