Intellectual disability services supported accommodation
staff attitude balance required to provide
residents with overall lifestyle quality
One of the main intentions of moving people with an intellectual disability from Institutions into the Community was to improve their quality of life. In most cases the quality of basic care has improved. Yet, in many cases there has been little progress with developmental and interactive care - being the most significant component of lifestyle quality.
Most of us take our lifestyle quality for granted. We do a myriad of things every day, rarely considering these all add up give us an active, interesting, quality of life. In contrast, the lifestyle of those with a disability is, especially, directly proportional to their ability. It is therefore most important their ability be enhanced as much as possible.
Those living in supported accommodation have the right to expect a quality of life similar to others in the community – to the extent of their ability, and with expectations that a support service will consistently seek to expand that ability by providing an adequate level of developmental and interactive care and support.
Providing service and assistance to those living in supported accommodation is an extremely complex, delicate and demanding role, if this support is to be effective in enhancing the overall lifestyle of the residents. Many residents are unable to effectively advocate for themselves, and will “look at four walls all day” without the intervention of support staff.
Many staff working in supported residential accommodation are from institutions, where poor staff ratios allowed little more than basic or custodial care - the role of staff being mainly to keep order and monitor health and behaviour. In contrast, the better staff ratios in residential accommodation are intended to permit support staff to provide developmental and interactive care and support, in addition to regular basic care, with the intention that staff integrate and balance their time between basic care and developmental and interactive/engagement.
The interactive and developmental engagement needs of those with an intellectual disability are little different from everyone else, its just that their ability limits their self motivation. Support staff working with children, like mum at home or a kinder, spend most of their day interacting and providing developmental support... Play a game with me, come and do this or that, show me this or that, etc, etc. The children motivate the staff Most of those with an intellectual disability depend on the support staff motivating them to do other than, “look at four walls all day”.