Although family placements are commonly used to support the carers of children with intellectual disabilities, fewer schemes involve adult persons and rarely have been they targeted at older carers whose need for breaks is well-attested. Twenty-five carers, aged 55 years and over, of people with intellectual disabilities using one of two placement schemes in Northern Ireland were studied along with a further 20 carers who had been recommended for these schemes by their social worker. Semi-structured, individual interviews were used to obtain the views of carers, people with intellectual disabilities and placement providers. The placement schemes were very favourably received. All the carers wished to continue their involvement and most of the older carers not using such schemes expressed an interest in participating. The main benefit offered to carers was the chance of a break but they also valued the relationship they had built with the placement provider. Individuals with the disability reported that they had greater opportunities to participate in a range of activities while on placements. The majority of placement providers were recruited from the care sector and many had previous experience of people with intellectual disabilities. Overall they were very satisfied with the way the schemes operated. The main complaint was the low level of payments.The study identified a number of key issues affecting the further development of such services, notably recruitment of male providers, registration issues, training of providers and the difficulty in meeting the needs of multiply disabled persons who require special equipment. Proposals are made for further research.
|Journal||Journal of Learning Disabilities|
|Publication status||Published (in print/issue) - 1 Jul 2004|