A manuscript that assesses the effectiveness of the REST (Respite Education & Support Tools) training program will appear in an upcoming issue of Home Health Care Services Quarterly (HHCSQ).

The manuscript, “Effects of Respite Care Training on Respite Provider Knowledge and Confidence, and Outcomes for Family Caregivers Receiving Respite Services,” reports on the efficacy, or effectiveness, of REST training on respite providers, and the outcomes for family caregivers receiving respite services.

Dr. Lynn Ackerman, co-founder and chief customer officer of Sensight Surveys, and Lois Sheaffer, National Director of REST, co-authored the study, which is set for publication in the near future.

“This study is a first step in examining how formal respite training translates into competent respite care and, as a result, better outcomes for family caregivers,” Ackerman said.  “The REST program was built on the idea that delivery of a quality respite experience involves equipping providers with skills that allow them to respond to unique family needs and situations.  Our research supports the supposition that when respite providers are educated on the core areas of quality respite, they have the tools to develop an individualized plan of care and the know-how to thoughtfully respond to unique family situations, resulting in better caregiver outcomes.”

“It’s an interesting study that investigated the effects of a respite training program on respite providers’ knowledge and confidence as well as on family caregiver well-being,” noted a reviewer of the manuscript.  “The study filled the research gap about if the training would be beneficial to improve respite providers’ competence and how it would be interacted with providers’ prior knowledge and background; and also how the training program would further influence family caregivers’ outcomes of different types… The authors found that the training program significantly improved caregivers’ outcomes through preparing providers to deliver quality respite.”

“It is my passion to serve caregivers through respite,” Sheaffer said. “As author of the REST curriculum, it is very humbling to see the program being used across the nation.  To have this article published shows the efficacy of the first evidence-based respite training program in the nation.  It is truly inspiring as we continue to deliver education and support to those offering a break to caregivers.”

REST is a Train-the-Trainer program that equips and prepares trainers to conduct an eight-hour respite training.  By training paid and unpaid workers to provide respite, it allows caregivers who are caring for people with special needs across the lifespan (children, adults and seniors) to build networks of support to prevent burnout, and ultimately delay long term placement of their loved ones.

Currently, REST has 526 Trainers and 5,480 Companions – those who provide respite services – in 29 states.

HHCSQ is a peer-reviewed quarterly journal dedicated to the advancement of research, practice, and policy in health care across a continuum of care settings.