Adults with learning disabilities living in family homes may have fewer activity opportunities than those in staffed homes


Many people with learning disabilities live in the family home, but few studies have focused on the issue of quality of life of such individuals. The researchers in this study set out to look at household and community activity for people living in the family home and compare this with those in out-of-family placements.

The authors gather information on household participation and social and community activities for 721 adults with learning disabilities: 30 were living independently, 142 lived with their family and 559 were in staffed accommodation.

They compared the characteristics of the participants as well as data on household and community activity across all the different residences. For those who were living in family or staffed homes, they used a multiple regression technique to look at any association that might exist between indicators of activity and the type of residence.

They found that those people who lived independently had higher household participation. Those in staffed accommodation had both higher household participation and did more community activities more frequently than people in family homes. The analysis of the multiple regression found that place of residence was a significant factor in explaining levels of activity.

Despite the limited number of activity indicators that were studied, the researchers suggest that their results go some way to confirming results of other recent studies, which suggest that adults with learning disabilities who live in family homes may have fewer activity opportunities than those living in staffed accommodation.

A Comparison of Activity Levels Among Adults with Intellectual Disabilities Living in Family Homes and Out-of-Family Placements, Felce, D et al, in Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 24: 421–426

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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