This paper provides a concept analysis of respite care for frail older people and their family carers. The authors re-examine the broader conceptualization of respite care delineated by Nolan & Grant, namely, users’ needs for information, education and support about respite care, based on a review of recent literature and on a user focus group study. This work was undertaken by the Sheffield arm of the ACTION Project research team. ACTION is a 36-month project (1997–1999), involving Northern Ireland, The Republic of Ireland, Portugal, Sweden and England and is the largest nurse-led project to have received funding from the European Union TIDE sector (DGXIII Telematics Applications Programme, Disabled and Elderly). The authors discuss the key elements of respite and, more specifically, how they can be successfully used so that the potential of respite may be realized fully by family carers. Recommendations within the context of the ACTION research project are put forward to enable family carers and the persons they care for to make informed choices about respite care.