National Family Caregiver Support Program’s Respite Services and the Effect on Caregiving Experience

April 2016

This study uses data from the National Family Caregiver Support Program portion of the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants (n= ~4,800) to explore the relationship between respite care and caregiver burden. The study found that participants of respite care were significantly more likely to report that they had more time for personal activities, found it easier to care for the care recipient, and felt less stress as a result of receiving respite care services. These results are consistent with some literature; however, there are some studies that do not support the positive effects of respite care. Studies have linked these mixed results with deterrence from using respite care, and therefore more research is needed in order to appropriately meet the needs of caregivers. Although this study found that respite care led to positive and significant outcomes for caregivers, previous studies have not found that respite care yields positive outcomes for caregivers. These mixed results on the value of respite care may be due to an inconsistency in the definition of respite care across programs and states, and the inconsistency of the respite services themselves.