New research on meaningful short breaks for carers

Social care legislation recognises the importance of developing innovative ways to promote the wellbeing of carers and people with complex care needs.  This includes supporting caring relationships through the provision of meaningful short breaks, which is now is a priority for social care across the four UK regions. Carers regularly cite access to breaks as one of three factors that could make a positive difference to their lives and help them achieve personal wellbeing outcomes, such as maintaining contact with friends and pursuing interests and hobbies.  

Shared Care Scotland have recently commissioned the School of Health Sciences at Bangor University to complete a Scoping Review to better understand the research evidence into short breaks for carers (sometimes called respite care) and what this research tells us about the impact of short breaks for carers. 

The review shall focus on locating research that evidences the contribution of short breaks in achieving the following carer generated outcomes:

  • Health and well-being.
  • A life of their own.
  • Positive relationships with the supported person.
  • Choices in caring, including limits.
  • Satisfaction in caring.

Findings from the review shall:

  • Help identify gaps in the existing research literature.
  • Support the work of a newly established UK Research and Practice Development Group on Short Breaks for Carers, helping to shape its research vision and future funding applications. 
  • Inform the effective implementation of policy and practice.

Don Williamson, Chief Executive of Shared Care Scotland, says:#mce_temp_url#

“It is vitally important going forward that we have a full picture of the current status of respite research so that we can draw on the best evidence available to guide future policy and practice.  This is especially important at a time when resources are under such pressure but the need for breaks is increasing. This Scoping Review will be a significant step forward in this regard by locating and bringing together in one place the various research studies that have been undertaken.  From this we can also begin to identify gaps and propose new strategies to encourage research in these areas.”

The work will be undertaken by researchers at the School of Health Sciences, Bangor University.  

For further information please contact Diane Seddon, Reader in Social Care and Social Care Research Lead, Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research, Bangor University (

Publication date: 11 February 2019