Together for Short Lives publish new report on the impact of short breaks for respite for seriously ill children

In a report published today, Wednesday 7 October, Together for Short Lives– a CDC member, evidences the positive impact that short breaks for respite have on families of children with life-limiting conditions. In the ‘Give Me a Break’ report, Pro Bono Economics’ estimates that 11 percent of parents of children who need respite delivered by children’s palliative care providers would experience significantly less stress and improved mental and physical health if they could access them.

Key headlines include:

  • Reduced stress leads to better physical health among parents. Demand for GP services declines by 8 per cent as a result of an individual moving out of the most stressed category.
  • Reduced stress also leads to better mental health among carer parents. Demand for mental health services falls by 49 per cent as an individual moves out of the most stressed category.
  • Short breaks are likely to have a positive impact on siblings and reduce the risk of parental relationships breaking up.

Recommendations specific to children and young people include:

  • A call for the government to deliver on the benefits of short breaks by filling the £434 million gap in funding for social care services for all disabled children in England and their families by creating an annual ring-fenced grant.
  • The government to establish a £41 million Disabled Children’s Innovation Fund. This would provide financial backing to organisations delivering ground-breaking support and approaches in early intervention, such as short breaks for respite.
  • All organisations that provide short breaks for seriously ill children and their families should provide short breaks which can meet the needs of a diverse range of families, including those from all ethnic backgrounds and socio-economic groups.

The Council for Disabled Children, have identified examples of creative practice in continuing to provide short break support to families during the Coronavirus pandemic. You can read our summary and individual case studies here.

Dame Christine Lenehan, Director of the Council for Disabled Children, said:

“Give Me a Break highlights the challenges faced by families of children with life-limiting conditions. Although short break services provide invaluable and much needed support, there simply isn’t enough funding. We must work through COVID-19 and beyond to ensure that all families receive the short break services that they are entitled to.”

You can read the full report here: https://www.togetherforshortlives.org.uk/campaign/give-me-a-break-campaign/