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Intention to use respite services among informal care-givers of frail older adults in China: the role of care needs change

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 May 2020

Qian Sun
Department of Social Security, School of Public Administration, Hebei University of Economics and Business, Shijiazhuang, China
Nan Lu
Department of Social Work, School of Sociology and Population Studies, Renmin University of China, Beijing, China
Nan Jiang
Department of Social Work, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Vivian W. Q. Lou*
Department of Social Work and Social Administration, Sau Po Centre on Ageing, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
*Corresponding author. Email:


Population ageing in China calls for evidence-based solutions, especially in terms of fulfilling long-term care needs among frail older adults. Respite services are identified as effective resources for alleviating care-giver burden and promoting the wellbeing of both older adults and their family care-givers. However, respite care is often under-used in China. This research aimed to examine factors associated with intention to use respite services among informal care-givers in Shanghai, mainland China. This study was part of the Longitudinal Study on Family Caregivers for Frail Older Adults in Shanghai. Pairs of older adults and their care-givers (N = 583) who successfully completed the 2013 and 2016 waves were included in the data analysis. Two logistic regression models were conducted, one with time-invariant and one with time-variant factors. The model with time-variant factors had greater explanatory power than the original Andersen model with time-invariant factors influencing intention to use respite services among care-givers. Care-givers had higher odds of intending to use respite services if they had higher care-giving burden, were caring elderly people who experienced care-giver transitions, or were caring for elderly people with increased function of ambulation or decreased function of feeding. The findings imply that change in functional health was a significant determinant of intention to use respite care. Relevant policy and service implications will be discussed.

Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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