Inequalities in respite service provision: Insights from a national, longitudinal study of people with intellectual disabilities

Roy McConkey, F Kelly, H Mannan, S Craig

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    Background Respite or short breaks are frequently soughtby parents and demand for them usually exceeds theiravailability.Methods Using data from a national database in Irelandof around 16 000 persons living with family carers, theavailability of overnight respite provision was monitoredover an 8-year period along with the recordedneeds for such services.Results Despite marked rises in the number of peoplereceiving respite breaks resulting from increased governmentfunding, there were marked inequalities in theavailability of provision across the country. In recentyears the inequalities decreased but still remained. Theproportion of families requiring breaks also rose and asimilar pattern of inequalities were found here too. Onlya small proportion of families who had a recorded needin 1999 were receiving respite services 8 years later andover one third had a continuing need recorded.Conclusion This study highlighted some of the complexitiesin reducing inequalities in the provision of respiteservices and in identifying the need for them. It wouldbe advantageous to develop more explicit criteriaregarding the need for respite provision and to recordthe family’s preferences for the form this provisionmight take. These adjustments would add to the valueof any national database as a service planning tool.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)85-94
    JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2010



    • family carers
    • inequality
    • intellectual disability
    • Ireland
    • respite
    • short breaks

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