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Moving Home: Social Integration for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities Resettling into Community Provision

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Abstract

The present study examined levels of social integration for individuals resettling into community provision following the phased closure of Gogarburn Hospital, Edinburgh, UK, and the personal and service-related characteristics which were influential on such integration. The study sample comprised 76 out of 95 individuals consecutively discharged over a 19-month period. Post-move data were collected between 6 and 9 months after community resettlement. At this time, mean ‘quality of life’ scores, established using the Life Experiences Checklist (LEC), were broadly equivalent to those reported from previous reprovisioning studies in the UK. However, scores in the domains of Relationships and Freedom remained well below general population norms. A pre-move to post-move comparison across the domains of the LEC suggested that the greatest impact of reprovisioning was in the areas of physical quality of residential provision (with overall standards above general population norms) and personal freedoms. Index of Community Involvement (ICI) scores showed a general increase in community presence, although activities requiring a high degree of personal autonomy remained infrequent. Social contacts recorded through diaries suggested a heavy bias towards contacts with staff and other service users as opposed to general community contacts (e.g. neighbours and shop workers). On average, over half the time spent outwith the home was in specialist or segregated service settings. For 18 individuals, there were losses or no gains in community involvement pre-move to post-move. A majority of these individuals were elderly. These findings are discussed in the context of policy targeting community participation, and the need for strengthening service features which encourage higher levels of social integration.

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