Alzheimer’s Australia Discussion Paper 17
Prepared by Warwick Bruen with Anna Howe (May 2009)
Respite care is a valued and much needed service. It is a complex policy area and while available evidence shows the effectiveness of a range of respite services, it also points to shortcomings and gaps.
There is evidence from the 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers that 27% of carers of people with dementia who said they needed respite did not access it. Compared to all carers, carers of people with dementia were 50% more likely to need and to have used respite, and more than 10 times more likely to say they needed respite but had not used it.
Respite care needs to be flexible because it must respond to greatly differing personal needs according to age, ethnicity, disease, frailty and geography. Access is also affected by the multiplicity of different kinds of services, whether based in the home or centre based or day/overnight respite.
A number of recommendations are made in the new report. The most important are those directed towards making services more flexible and more responsive and to reducing barriers to the use of respite by people living with dementia. These include a trial of consumer directed care in respite services, a redirection of funds from residential care respite to the National Respite for Carers Program, increased access to education for carers and an increased priority for dementia respite services. > read report
- Respite Care - Letter to Justine Elliot MP, Minister for Ageing (20 May 2009)
- Alzheimer’s Australia media release (5 June 2009)
- ABC News story (5 June 2009)