ESSENCE CASE STUDY Short breaks for adults with learning disabilities and behaviour that challenges: economic evidence

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Key Points


  • Although short breaks (respite care) are intended to give time off caring to carers for adults with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour, it is commonly provided as residential care intervention for the service users (rather than for the carers).
  • In evaluating short breaks, the work that fed into the NICE guideline did not find any robust evidence on their effectiveness or cost-effectiveness. Other information was available to suggest that the Guideline Committee should made a recommendation for short breaks that is potentially resource-intensive.
  • Additional economic analyses from a public sector perspective demonstrated that short breaks at various intensities can be considered cost-effective and potentially cost-saving.
  • Since the analyses were based on assumptions rather than evidence, NICE is very cautious about using the results to guide commissioning and provision decisions. Beyond the certainty of the potential cost range of short breaks, the economic analyses produced are speculative and their validity cannot be confirmed.
  • A variety of national charities currently provide short breaks and other services for those with intellectual disabilities and challenging behaviour as well as their carers.

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