Optimizing outcomes in supported living for people with intellectual disability
The Living with Disability Research Centre at La Trobe University explored different support arrangements and social contexts that optimize the success of supported living arrangements for people with intellectual disabilities. The study used mixed methods to identify factors which ensure good quality of life outcome for people with disabilities. Focus groups were conducted with people with disabilities and staff in support services. These discussions informed the development of a face to face survey of people in supported living arrangements. In-depth case studies then explored factors associated with good and poor quality outcomes identified in the preceding research.
This research indicated that people with disabilities considered the benefit of supported living was increased levels of choice and control. They defined good support workers as people who listened and had expectations of them. They preferred to be appropriately informed about changes in support workers or timing of supports. Participants with structured activities to attend, such as paid or voluntary work, tended to report a higher quality of life.
Negative outcomes of supported living models were the personal economic cost of living alone, social isolation, and lack of access to technology. In-flexible or unresponsive support systems were also an issue.
Supply of affordable and suitable housing for supported living was an issue. Often people were clustered in high density public housing areas with anti-social environments. Development of dispersed housing in safer areas was recommended to offer greater prospects for community engagement.
From the NSW Department of Family and Community Services website:
- ‘Not as Connected With People as They Want To Be’ - Optimising Outcomes for People with Intellectual Disabilities in Supported Living Arrangements (PDF)
Bigby, C., Bould, E., and Beadle-Brown, J. (2016) Conundrums of supported living: The experiences of people with intellectual disability, Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, DOI: 10.3109/13668250.2016.1253051 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/13668250.2016.1253051