Evaluation of personalised support and accommodation in disability and mental health services
Research team
Prof Roy McConkey, Brendan Bunting, Finola Ferry, Edurne Garcia Iriarte and Rachel Stevens, Ulster University

Evaluation of personalised support and accommodation in disability and mental health services


Internationally, increased attention is focused on the provision of personalised supports to people with disabilities and enduring illness. Personalised or individualised supports are those which address the unique needs of the individual focusing on their strengths and abilities, which are chosen by the person and which are delivered in the community fostering inclusion and participation. Recent Irish policy documents have also described and recommended a way of supporting people with disabilities which involves a reframing of provision from services towards individualised supports. The Value for Money and Policy Review of Disability Services recommends that the goal of full inclusion and self-determination for people with disabilities be pursued “through access to the individualised personal social supports and services needed to live a fully included life in the community”.

Aims of the evaluation

In this context this evaluation was concerned with identifying the outcomes for people with disabilities and mental health difficulties receiving individualised supports; particularly on indicators of social inclusion and quality of life but also in relation to their individual aspirations, including;

  • the processes which have led to effective change and transition in terms of personal outcomes and the delivery of individualised supports.
  • the direct costs of providing the personalised support for people using services and how these costs have changed as a result of the changes in support provided.
  • the implications for the further development of personalised services in an Irish service context.

Follow-up study

A further data uplift by Prof. Roy McConkey and colleagues, Ulster University (UU) is taking place on this study. This will enable the longer-term impact of a move to independent living to be established as well as the impact on those individuals who had only just moved at the end of the initial study. 

Key Points
  • Personalised supports for people living in their own homes produce better outcomes than congregated care/group homes.
  • Quality of Life improvements are clear for those who move from congregated care.
  • Personalised housing and support options are feasible to implement in Ireland across people with a variety of disabilities/mental health difficulties.
  • Personalised supports can save on costs for most people. 
  • Group homes do not offer personalised accommodation or support – this has implications for how future deinstitutionalisation should be carried out.
  • Summary document available here.
Findings Summary

An 8-page summary document of this report is also available.

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