‘What vision?’: experiences of Team members in a community service for adults with intellectual disabilities

I. C. H. Clare, E. M. Madden, A. J. Holland, C. J. T. Farrington, S. Whitson, S. Broughton, A. Lillywhite, E. Jones, K. A. Wade, M. Redley, A. P Wagner

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Background: In the UK, the closure of ‘long-stay’ hospitals was accompanied by the development of community teams (CTs) to support people with intellectual disabilities (IDs) to live in community settings. The self-reported experiences of staff working in such teams has been neglected.

Methods: Focusing on a single county-wide service, comprising five multi-disciplinary and inter-agency CTs, we measured perceptions among the health care and care management team members of (i) their personal well-being (Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) Maslach and Jackson, 1981); (ii) the functioning of their team (Team Climate Inventory (TCI) Anderson and West, 1994) and (iii) organisational commitment to quality and culture (the Quality Implementation Improvement Survey – II (QIIS-II, Shortell et al., 1995, 2000).

Results: Almost three-quarters of the questionnaires were returned (73/101; 72%). The scores of health care and care managers were very similar: the MBI scores of more than half the respondents were ‘of concern’; (ii) similarly, almost four in ten respondents’ scores on the Vision scale were ‘of concern’; (iii) the perceived commitment to quality (QIIS-II Part 2) was uncertain; and (iv) the organisational culture (QIIS-II, Part 1) was viewed as primarily hierarchical.

Discussion: The perceived absence of a vision for the service, combined with a dominant culture viewed by its members as strongly focussed on bureaucracy and process, potentially compromises the ability of these CTs to respond proactively to the needs of people with IDs. Given the challenges that changes in legislation, policy, and practice that have taken place since CTs were established, it would be timely to revisit their role and purpose.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197–209
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number3
Early online date1 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • community learning disability teams
  • service culture
  • specialist community teams
  • staff
  • stress
  • team functioning

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