People with dementia more likely to use respite care

People with dementia are more likely to use residential respite care (RRC) than those who don't have dementia, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The study is based on 32,000 people in the Pathways in Aged Care (PIAC) cohort who had an approval for RRC use from an Aged Care Assessment Team in 2003-04.

The report, Dementia and the take-up of residential respite care, shows that just over a quarter (27%) of people approved for RRC actually used it within the 12 months of their approval.

This was true for both those recommended to live in the community and those recommended to live in residential care.

A greater proportion of people with dementia (32%) took up approved RRC than those without dementia (25%).

The report also presents findings on the influence of carer status and English proficiency on the take-up of respite care.

'Respite care can take a variety of forms and is a key service designed to provide support for carers and the people they care for,' said Phil Anderson of the AIHW's Data Linkage Unit.

'The demands of caring for someone with dementia are heavy, involving the provision of increasing amounts of physical, psychological, cognitive and social support as dementia severity increases,' Dr Anderson said.

'People caring for those with dementia have identified respite care as one of their critical care needs and as a way of sustaining them in their caring role.'

The report found that having a carer increased the likelihood of a client taking up RRC. And among those recommended to live in the community, a person with a co-resident carer was more likely to take up respite than those with a non-resident carer.

For people recommended to live in the community, those born in non-English speaking countries had a lower take-up rate (24%) than those born in Australia or other English-speaking countries (28%).

Other factors also affected the likelihood of taking up approved RRC, including client demographics, other health conditions, care needs and assessment characteristics. These other factors varied according to whether people were recommended to live in the community or in residential care.


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