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Product Information Outcomes and Costs of Community Living: Semi-Independent Living and Group Homes

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Consumer outcomes and recurrent (non-capital) service costs were compared for matched groups of Australian adults with intellectual disability and moderate to low support needs living in group homes or semi-independently (i.e., with drop-in staff support). Participants from these two setting types were individually matched on adaptive and challenging behavior, so that any differences in outcomes could reasonably be said to be due to living and support arrangements not systematic differences between participants.

Outcomes examined included quality of life, safety, aloneness, social dissatisfaction, personal care, domestic management, health care, money management, social network, use of mainstream community services, community participation, domestic participation, stability of place of residence, living companion turnover, and natural support.

Most outcomes did not differ significantly when group home and semi-independent participants were compared. Where significant differences were found, participants living semi-independently experienced better outcomes: significantly less social dissatisfaction, more frequent and independent use of community facilities, more participation in domestic tasks, and greater empowerment. There were no outcomes with significantly better results for group home participants.

Outcomes that might have been expected to present more problems to individuals living semi-independently, such as safety, loneliness, personal care, domestic management, health care and money management, showed similar results for both group home and semi-independent participants. The lower level of staffing provided to semi-independent participants was not associated with poorer outcomes.

Per-person expenditure was substantially higher for group home participants. The major factor in this cost differential was the lower number of staff support hours provided to the semi-independent group. The entire report is available on the internet.

A published version of this paper may be found at:
Stancliffe, R. J., & Keane, S. (2000). Outcomes and costs of community living: A matched comparison of group homes and semi-independent living. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 25, 281-305.
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