Having a break: good practice in short breaks for families with children who have complex health needs and disabilities

What are the financial costs and benefits?

There is currently little evidence available as to the financial costs and benefits of developing these new types of short break. Further research will be required. However, based on the experience of commissioners and service providers to date, it seems these services do offer better value for money.

Home-based care is relatively expensive because it includes unsocial hours, but it is more cost-effective than residential care. It is often better value.

Staff member, Norfolk County Council

Home-based nursing probably works out cheaper because there are no capital costs.

Staff member, South East Essex PCT

One provider has reduced costs by training nursery nurses to provide home-based care:

The service costs less than residential care and less than using trained nurses. The estimated cost is £38 per three-hour session including on-costs.

Staff member, South East Essex PCT

Providing breaks for families also seems to help to prevent many hospital admissions, thus making a saving for the NHS.

Children are being admitted to hospital when they don’t need to be and for longer than they need to be. Giving families a break saves inpatient resources.

Staff member, South East Essex PCT

Overall the new models seem to offer a better quality service without incurring additional costs.

We are providing more services for the same amount of money. We haven’t had any increase in funding but we are doing things differently.

Staff member, SHSSB