Background and aims: This study aimed to collate and summarise statistical information on the number of people with disabilities living in all types of residential care but with a particular focus on those living in institutional care within 28 countries in Europe to analyse the costs and outcomes of the transition to community-based services in order to provide recommendations for agents in these countries to help bring about the change. The rationale for the study was to inform the political debate, to provide evidence and recommendations to support the move to community-based living for people with disabilities. The study aimed to collect data across client groups (intellectual disability, physical and sensory disability and mental illness) and across different age groups (children, adults and older adults).
Description of project: There were two phases to this study—the first provided a description of service types in each country and collated existing official statistics on the number of people with disabilities in the different types of residential services; the second phase analysed the existing body of knowledge on costs and outcomes of institutional and community-based services to provide conclusions and recommendations.
Conclusions: More than 1.45 million people with disabilities in Europe still live in residential care with 70% of these living in services with over 30 places. Data was better on people with intellectual disabilities than for other user groups but figures collated are none-the-less an underestimation. Drawing together such a mass of information served to highlight the extent of the work still needed to achieve the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in almost all the countries included in terms of community-based services for all. It also highlighted the gaps in the available data. Challenges in the task of collating information included the lack of information collated at national level, the issue of varying definitions in use and inconsistency in how and where data was available.
Discussion: Most countries in Europe still have some way to go to be able to meet Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Recommendations focuses are offered to help bridge the gaps in data available on the situation of people with disabilities.
Presentation slides available from: http://www.bridgingknowledge.net/Presentations/Symp10_BeadleBrown.pdf