Friends or family members who provide care for a person with a brain injury experience a great deal of stress. In order to ease this burden, many organizations provide respite care for the caregiver. Respite care is an organized support service that offers a temporary break for caregivers. This break can range from a few hours to a few days, and can be provided in the home, at a day center, out for a social event, or away for an overnight.
Approximately 70% of people who care for a person with a brain injury experience significant stress, with 40% having anxiety and 33% having depression. But is respite care enough to ease this stress? A recent study found that, although respite care is appreciated, it does not significantly contribute to the well-being of caregivers.
In the study, caregivers who felt less burdened were more likely to use active coping skills (ie, problem-solving) rather than passive coping skills (ie, avoidance). Therefore, in addition to respite care, caregivers could benefit from programs that provide an education in coping skills.
Smeets SM, Van Heugten CM, Geboers JF, Visser-Meily JM, & Schepers VP. Respite care after acquired brain injury: The well-being of caregivers and patients. Archives of Physical and Medical Rehabilitation. (April 2012).