Background This study examines the effects and associated factors of respite care, which was legislated as a community service for adults with an intellectual disability (ID) in Taiwan in 1997.
Method A total of 116 family carers who live with an adult with ID and have utilised the respite care program were surveyed using standardised measures.
Results The results suggest that the most notable effects of respite care include improvement in the carers' social support and life satisfaction, and relief of psychological stress and overall burden of care. The factors associated with these effects include the way the participants have used the respite care and the users' individual characteristics.
Conclusions How families used the respite care, whether the carers practised a religion, and where the families resided, were the most significant factors in determining the effectiveness of the respite. Suggestions are made for making access to information about the program more widely available, and for extending the availability and duration of the service.