The role of support staff in promoting the social inclusion of persons with intellectual disabilities.

Roy McConkey, Suzanne Collins

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    88 Citations (Scopus)


    Background Past studies have found that peoplesupported in more individualised housing optionstend to have levels of community participation andwider social networks than those in other accommodationoptions.Yet, the contribution of supportstaff in facilitating social inclusion has received relativelyscant attention.Methods In all 245 staff working in either supportedliving schemes, or shared residential andgroup homes, or in day centres completed a writtenquestionnaire in which they rated in terms of priorityto their job, 16 tasks that were supportive ofsocial inclusion and a further 16 tasks that relatedto the care of the person they supported. In additionstaff identified those tasks that they consideredwere not appropriate to their job.Results Across all three service settings, staff ratedmore care tasks as having higher priority than theydid the social inclusion tasks. However, staff in supportedliving schemes rated more social inclusiontasks as having high priority than did staff in theother two service settings. Equally the staff whowere most inclined to rate social inclusion tasks asnot being applicable to their job were those workingday centres; female rather than male staff, those infront-line staff rather than senior staff, and those inpart-time or relief positions rather than full-timeposts. However, within each service settings, therewere wide variations in how staff rated the socialinclusion tasks.Conclusions Staff working in more individualisedsupport arrangements tend to give greater priorityto promoting social inclusion although this can varywidely both across and within staff teams. Nonetheless,staff gave greater priority to care tasks especiallyin congregated service settings. Servicemanagers may need to give more emphasis to socialinclusion tasks and provide the leadership, trainingand resources to facilitate support staff to re-assesstheir priorities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)691-700
    JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jul 2010


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