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January 2002Vol. 3, No. 1Respite Network Staff Represent the U.S. at the Third International Respite Care Conference

The Third International Respite Care Conference, “Global Issues, Local Solutions,” was held September 11–14, 2001 in Sydney, Australia. More than 450 caregivers, practitioners, educators, and policy makers from around the world attended.

Respite is temporary relief for caregivers and families in which care is provided to individuals with disabilities and other special needs, to individuals with chronic or terminal illnesses, or to individuals at risk of abuse and neglect. Respite can occur in out-of-home and in-home settings for any length of time depending on the needs of the family and available resources. The United States is seen as a leader in respite care and four members of the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center were invited to present at the conference. Highlights of ARCH Resource Center presentations include:

  • “Lifespan Respite Efforts in the USA--Statewide and Community Networks” (Linda Baker, ARCH Director, and Maggie Edgar, ARCH Program Manager) informed participants of the movement in the U.S. to provide lifespan respite services, and described how States are organizing respite coalitions or associations to address ways to streamline their respite systems and provide easy access to services for families.
  • “Crisis Respite Care in the United States: Multiple Models for Meeting Diverse Community Needs” (Maggie Edgar and Casandra Wade, ARCH Coordinator) described multiple models of crisis respite programs operating in the U.S. and discussed the underlying community needs addressed by each program.
  • “Developing a Model for Measuring the Outcomes of Respite Care: Leaping Into the Sea of Inquiry” (Casandra Wade and Jack Denniston) described the history and interim findings of the ARCH Outcome Evaluation Project.
  • “International Trends: Community-Based Family Support vs. Institution-Based Long Term Care” (Jack Denniston and a panel of international experts) examined and identified best practices and lessons learned from the manner in which several countries support individuals with special needs and their families.
  • “Basic Behavior Management” (Jack Denniston) identified existing methods of behavior management and investigated additional methods for managing persistent, inappropriate behaviors.

The conference also provided many workshops, keynote speakers, and opportunities for international networking. Many of the conference participants were "carers" from Australia, sponsored by their respective respite programs.

One result of the conference was the formation of new international collaborative relationships. Several countries expressed interest in the ARCH Outcome Evaluation Initiative and will be in ongoing communication with ARCH as the initiative continues. Five countries expressed interest in utilizing the manual and evaluation instruments developed by ARCH.

Australia and the United Kingdom are developing voluntary standards for respite programs, and were eager to learn of ARCH activities in this area. These countries will collaborate with ARCH by sharing materials as they are developed. The development of Australia's standards began in 1999, with Interchange Victoria, as a continuous process to develop standards across its diverse and autonomously managed member programs. The United Kingdom appears to be at a similar “developmental stage” as the U.S. in developing voluntary national standards for respite.

The next International Respite Conference will be held in the U.S. in 2003.

For more information about the conference or the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center, contact:
Linda Baker, Director
ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center
Chapel Hill Training-Outreach Project
800 Eastowne Drive, Suite 105
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
888-671-2594 or 919-490-5577
Website: (Editor's note: this link is no longer available.)