Alzheimer's Australia Dementia Research Grant

Client: Alzheimers Australia

Centre: Lincoln Centre

Start year: 2007
End year: 2008

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Residential respite is commonly advocated to provide stress relief for carers. There are, however, ongoing concerns from carers and debate in the literature about its overall efficacy, including the extent to which it has a disruptive impact on dementia sufferers. These questions have not yet been satisfactorily addressed by research. Measures were taken with 20 carer-care recipient pairs at five successive time points, before, during, and after respite care. This study used a novel methodology, focusing on the use of highly sensitive measures of the client's cognitive status (including orientation, attention, speed of processing and short-term memory). The assessment also included semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, and assessments for both clients and carers, including measures of carer wellbeing and attitudes towards relinquishing care. Findings from this study have important implications for the future planning and targeting of residential respite services.