Recasting respite policy for people with learning disabilities in integrated framework to support family coping and resilience


Most local authorities are attempting to offer a range of services in response to the need for respite or a short break. Authorities have recognised the need to offer services therefore that attempt to meet the needs of carers and the people with disabilities, by ensuring that short breaks are responsive to people using services, with respite services offering them a positive experience. However, it is clear that the needs of the stakeholders may be very different, with carers and people with disabilities maybe having very different expectations of what a respite service may be able to offer.

The authors of this study found that there can be considerable variability in provision of respite services between and even within localities.

They found a history of disjointed service provision and recommend a rethink of respite policy nationally, with the need for respite policy to encompass a shared understanding of respite care among all stakeholders.

They suggest that such a shared understanding might generate a move toward integrated service development, “recasting respite as part of a continuum of family support services in which funding policies give families more control” which would recast respite care in an integrated framework moving beyond a basic function of providing breaks in caring to one of

supporting family coping and resilience.

Rethinking Respite Policy for People With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Chan J et al., in Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 9: 120–126

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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