Stakeholder perspectives on intensive support teams for adults with intellectual disabilities who display behaviour that challenges in England

Athanasia Kouroupa, Angela Hassiotis, Leila Hamza, Ken Courtenay, Ian Hall, Peter E. Langdon, Laurence Taggart, Vicky Crossey, Brynmor Lloyd-Evans, Nicola Morant

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Background: Adults with intellectual disabilities often display behaviour that challenges that is a result of biological differences, psychological challenges, and lack of appropriate social support. Intensive Support Teams (IST) are recommended to support the care needs of this group and avoid hospitalisation. However, little attention has been paid to the perspectives of stakeholders who manage, work in, or use ISTs.

Method: Interviews and focus groups were conducted with 50 stakeholders (IST service managers and professionals, adults with intellectual disabilities, and family and paid carers) of ISTs. Services operated according to one of two service models previously identified in ISTs in England (enhanced or independent).

Results: Thematic analysis identified accessible and flexible support, individualised care, and the involvement of carers and other relevant agencies in management plans and reviews as features of good IST care highlighted by all stakeholder groups. IST managers and professionals described the key challenges of current IST provision as unclear referral criteria, limited interfaces with other local services, and perceived threats associated with funding and staff retention. Findings were similar between the two IST models.

Conclusions: ISTs are able to offer care and specialist support that is valued by families, service users and other care providers. However, they face several operational challenges that should be addressed if ISTs are to reach their potential along with community intellectual disability services in supporting adults with intellectual disabilities who display behaviour that challenges in the community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1101-1112
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number5
Early online date4 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2023

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