Deinstitutionalization in intellectual disabilities Academic Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The process of deinstitutionalization for intellectual disability services is at different stages across the world, varying from complete closure in Sweden to a vague hope in Taiwan. This review explores recent literature on deinstitutionalization and intellectual disabilities and focuses on papers published in academic journals mainly during 2006. RECENT FINDINGS: Work on deinstitutionalization continues to show that outcomes are better in the community than in institutional care but recent papers highlight that there is more to deinstitutionalization than just hospital closure. Just moving people out of institutions into community settings does not bring about automatic improvement in quality of life in terms of choice and inclusion as well as self-identity and access to effective healthcare and treatment. This is especially true for people with more severe intellectual disabilities as well as complex needs such as challenging behaviour. Some of the current research illustrates that even offenders with intellectual disability can be successfully supported in the community. SUMMARY: Recent research provides further examples and lessons on how community care can and should work, which it would be hoped will help those countries just starting the process of institutional closure to move more quickly to full deinstitutionalization.

publication date

  • September 2007