People with intellectual disabilities often have little influence over their choice of living arrangements. Little is known about what they value and their views on the range of options that are available. In this study, 180 people attended 20 focus groups across Northern Ireland. Just over half were living with family carers and the others were in a range of other accommodations. They described what they liked and did not like about their present arrangements and video clips were used to elicit their views of four different living options.Four themes were common to all participants irrespective of where they lived: having their own bedroom, participating in household activities; having access to community activities and contact with family and friends. Those living independently or in supported housing valued their independence and having access to support staff whereas those in residential homes spoke of the importance of their relationships with co-residents and staff. Those living in ordinary housing were more likely to report harassment and to stress the importance of living in a pleasant neighbourhood than did those in residential homes.Most people were content with their present locations although small group homes and supported living arrangements were the most popular alternatives to living with their families. The study confirmed the value of consulting directing with service users and proved an exemplar as to how it can be done. The discussion centres on how their preferences can be incorporated into policy and suggestions for further research are noted.
|Journal||Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jul 2005|