The features of short-break residential services valued by families who have children with multiple disabilities.

Roy McConkey, Maria Truesdale-Kennedy, Chris Conliffe

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    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Children with physical and intellectual disabilities can place extra demands on their family carers. The need for short-break (respite) services is well documented but little research has been undertaken into the features of these services that families value. A mix of qualitative and quantitative methods were used. In the first phase, 108 parents in urban and rural areas described the features they liked about the short break services they had received and the perceived benefits to them and their child. Their replies were validated at a consultation seminar with over 30 carers and professional workers. A pool of 47 items was then devised and in Phase 2, a sample of 59 families used them to rate one of three short break services they had used. Findings: Twelve distinguishing items were found across the three services. They were grouped into three distinct factors: characteristics of the services (8 items); benefits to the child (2 items) and benefits to the carer (2 items). Variation were found in carers’ expectations which need further exploration.Applications: These findings should facilitate the development of quality standards for short-break residential services and help in the commissioning of services that accord with user aspirations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)61-75
    JournalJournal of Social Work
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2004


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