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  • Writer's pictureThe Communiqués

Residential Aged Care Communiqué Volume 11 Issue 1 February 2016

In this edition

  • Editorial

  • Ten years of the RAC Communiqué

  • Case Report: Respite Care – it is not a holiday

  • Expert Commentary – Danger ahead: Residential respite care underway

  • List of Resources


Welcome to our first issue of 2016, which is also the year that marks our tenth anniversary, and so we have a short report about the history of the RAC Communiqué. Also, in this issue we examine the circumstances of a death that occurred following a period of residential-based respite care, an expert commentary from Christine Neville, a nurse and academic at the University of Queensland.

Residential-based respite care as well as community respite are an essential component of any aged and disability care system. Formal residential respite has existed for decades. What we called it may have varied (social admission, holiday) but the concept is one of providing care-givers an opportunity to “have a break” with the potential benefit that the care recipient may then stay at home longer, and improve the quality of life of both the carer and care recipient.

The case highlights the different approaches we take when presented with a situation that is temporary as opposed to permanent. Consider what you do differently when you are away from home on holiday, or when working a shift in another RACS for a day or week with no expectation of returning or; the time and trouble you take to remember someone’s name who you are never likely to meet again.

Respite care has many parallels with hazards or gaps in care that occur in any transition of care, or handover. That is, exposure to an unfamiliar environment, differences in communication, and changes in routines. Perhaps we should adjust our thinking to consider respite care processes as being the same as that required for permanent residents—rather than the natural tendency to do what is needed for the short time a person is in respite.

The key message is that residential respite is a ‘holiday’ for the care-giver, for everyone else it is a time to focus on ensuring the work we do everyday continues for every resident. We need to take ownership and responsibility for our residents or patients whether it’s for an hour, a day, a week, a year or longer.


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