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Rapid review summary of adult carers’ breaks

28 February 2019

Drawing on a focused literature review of recently published research combined with selected Carers UK Breaks Survey data, this summary report outlines key themes and issues relating to the provision of carers breaks and respite in England since the introduction of the Care Act 2014. Findings are informing the development of guidance for commissioners and providers and the dissemination of advice and information tool for carers being produced by SCIE and Carers UK respectively.

A presentation based on an earlier version of this paper was presented at the Reference Group for discussion on 12 February. The guidance will include examples of good practice and current services collated from a SCIE Call for Practice.

Key themes and messages from research

  • The evidence base on the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of specific interventions for carers is weak despite extensive literature on potentially effective interventions. There is a tension between cost-effectiveness and what is valued by carers.
  • The meaning and value of carer breaks and the way in which the dynamics of the caring relationship impact on whether, and how, carers access services needs to be better understood by commissioners and providers.
  • There is “no one size fits all” – the diversity of carers and carer needs require more personalised, tailored support in relation to breaks
  • There is a need for appropriate, timely information and advice about respite
  • Carers cite a lack of flexibility, choice and accessibility as key concerns along with issues of cost and concerns around quality of current provision
  • There is an acknowledged need to rethink and reimagine respite approaches and develop more creative forms of breaks support and models of delivery which have carers at their centre.