Enabling mainstream systems to be more inclusive and responsive to people with disabilities

La Trobe University will investigate the journey of people with cognitive disabilities through the hospital system to find evidence of processes and practices that will enable mainstream services to identify and respond to the particular needs of people with disability. The health system can often be unresponsive to the particular requirements of people with disabilities and their families, as a consequence of their needs and circumstances being poorly understood within a healthcare context.

The first stage of the research will track people with cognitive disability in their journeys through health networks, including metropolitan and rural sites. This research will combine quantitative data from medical records with participant, carer and service provider interviews, and non-participant observation studies. The research findings will inform the development checklist of Promising Practices found to support optimal hospital encounters for people with disability.

The second stage of the research will establish a group for co-production of a toolkit to provide guidelines and resources for making hospital services accessible and inclusive.

The aim of the research is to produce resources for use by health policy makers, hospital administrators, health care providers and disability services to improve the quality of individual and community support. It will also provide knowledge and tools to empower people with disabilities and their families to access mainstream services in ways that will ensure they receive optimal support and service.

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