Moving into new housing designed for people with disability: preliminary evaluation of outcomes
Jacinta Douglas, Dianne Winkler, Stacey Oliver, Stephanie Liddicoat and Kate D’Cruz
Disability and Rehabilitation, https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2022.2060343
What the study is about
Adequate housing is universally viewed as one of the most basic human needs. Our home and living arrangements have a strong influence on our quality of life. Yet a substantial number of people with acquired neurological disabilities and complex needs (e.g., brain injury, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis) are denied access to their own home and have limited choice in housing and living arrangements. In this study our aim was to investigate the change in individual outcomes for people with disability and complex needs who move into newly built, individualised apartments in the community.
What we did
We interviewed 15 adults with acquired neurological disability (aged 18–65 years) and completed three primary self-report outcome measures at two time-points (time 1: pre-move and time 2: 6–24 months post-move). Pre-move living arrangements included group homes, residential aged care, private rentals, and living with parents. Post-move living arrangements were individualised apartments built for people with disability. Health, wellbeing, community integration, and support needs were compared across pre- and post-move timepoints.
What we found
Despite the small and heterogeneous sample in this preliminary study, statistically significant improvements consistent with large positive effects were demonstrated in the wellbeing, and community integration of tenants at post-move compared with pre-move. A positive trend commensurate with a large effect was also evident on health post-move. Scores on these three measures improved with increasing time post move. Daily support hours for the group of 15 participants showed an overall reduction. Pre-move the average support hours per participant was 19 h per day; at post-move the average support hours per participant was 16.6 h per day (an average decrease of 2.4 support hours per participant per day). These results demonstrate the positive personal outcomes that can be experienced by people with acquired disability when they have the opportunity to move into individualised housing that reflects their will and preferences.