The experiences of parents of children with an intellectual disability who use respite care services
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The experiences of parents of children with an intellectual disability who use respite care services

Bernardine Wilkie , Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Ireland
Owen Barr , Institute of Nursing Research & School of Nursing, University of Ulster, Co Derry

Respite care throws a lifeline to parents of children with intellectual disabilities by giving them the time and space to recharge their batteries. The benefits of such a service are obvious: it enables parents to carry on caring for their child at home by offering temporary relief from the burden of caring. Bernardine Wilkie and Owen Barr report on the findings of a study that sought parents’ views on a respite care service and how it might be developed further

Recent evidence nationally and internationally indicates that the provision of care to people with intellectualdisabilities has shifted from long-stay hospitals to community-based options promoting social inclusion rather than exclusion (Braddock et al 2001, McCormack 2004, Owen 2004). In addition, people with intellectual disabilities enjoy increased longevity as a result of medical and technological advances (Patja et al 2000, National Health Service Scotland 2004). In Ireland, 64 per cent of all people with intellectual disabilities live in a home setting (Kelly et al 2007). Respite care is a key strategy to support them and their caregivers (McConkey et al 2004a, MacDonald et al 2007). However, there is a dearth of information about the unique experiences of parents who use respite services.

Learning Disability Practice. 11, 5, 30-36. doi: 10.7748/ldp.11.5.30.s32

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