There is a growing policy impetus to promote carer well-being through the provision of personalised short breaks. However, understanding of what makes for a successful personalised short break is limited. This paper identifies key evidence gaps and considers how these could be addressed.
A scoping review mapping the evidence base relevant to respite and short breaks for carers for older people, including those living with dementia, was completed. National and international literature published from 2000 onwards was reviewed. The scoping review focused on wellbeing outcomes, identified by previous research, as being important to carers.
Most studies investigating the outcomes of short breaks for carers supporting older people focus on traditional day and residential respite care. Although there have been developments in more personalised break options for carers, research exploring their impact is scarce. There is limited knowledge about how these personalised breaks might support carers to realise important outcomes, including: carer health and wellbeing; a life alongside caring; positive caregiving relationships; choices in caring; and satisfaction in caring. Three priority lines of inquiry to shape a future research agenda are identified: understanding what matters - evidencing personalised short break needs and intended outcomes; capturing what matters - outcomes from personalised short breaks; and, commissioning, delivering and scaling up personalised short breaks provision to reflect what matters.