Does respite care address the needs of palliative care service users and carers? Their perspectives and experiences

Int J Palliat Nurs. 2017 Apr 2;23(4):174-185. doi: 10.12968/ijpn.2017.23.4.174.


Aim: To establish whether respite care addresses the needs of palliative care service users and carers.

Background: Respite care is often described in UK policy and guidance as a key need to providing support for this group and yet little is known about it and there is a lack of research to support its efficacy.

Design: The approach was qualitative and the methodology was interpretive. The method used was constructivist grounded theory.

Methods: Data collection was carried out by unstructured informal interview with three couples and two bereaved carers who had experienced hospice respite care.

Results: Findings showed that respite care is valued by palliative care service users and carers although there are some fundamental tensions in service models which limit its potential.

Conclusion: A reframing of respite care as an empathic response within a new palliative care approach is proposed. Within this, the centrality of the relationship is reinforced.

Keywords: Constructivist grounded theory; Hospice care; Respite care; Social networks.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Caregivers*
  • Female
  • Grounded Theory
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Hospice Care
  • Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multiple Sclerosis / nursing
  • Parkinson Disease / nursing
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / nursing
  • Qualitative Research
  • Respite Care*
  • Social Support
  • Spouses*