Not as connected with people as they want to be’ – Optimising outcomes for people with intellectual disability in supported living arrangements. Living with Disability Research Centre, LaTrobe University
The study aimed to develop knowledge about the configuration of support arrangements and social contexts that optimise the success of supported living arrangements and quality of life for service users with intellectual disability. The overarching research question was what factors are necessary to ensure good quality of life outcomes for people with intellectual disability in supported living arrangements. Mixed methods were used in three distinct sequential phrases: 1) focus groups with people with intellectual disability living in supported living arrangements and staff in services delivering various types of support to people in this type of living arrangement. This phase provided an understanding of the diversity of housing and support arrangements, the experiences and perspectives of service users and support providers, and informed the development of the survey; 2) a face-to-face survey of service users in supported living arrangements provided a snapshot of the types of support and tenancy arrangements, service user characteristics, outcomes and support costs; 3) in-depth case studies with participants selected from the survey respondents explored further factors associated with both good and poor quality of life outcomes. Our findings suggest supported living is a preferable option to group homes for many people, both from the perspective of economics and increased choice and self-direction for people with disabilities. But design of funding schemes and service development must meet the pressing challenge to address support deficits that will improve quality of life outcomes for people in supported living. Although small scale, this study has added new knowledge to the limited understanding of the supported living arrangements for people with intellectual disability in Australia, and to the wider literature.