Tizard Research Projects

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Costs and outcomes of skilled support

Costs and outcomes of skilled support for adults with complex needs in supported accommodation

Research Team:
Dr Julie Beadle-Brown, Dr Jennifer Leigh, Beckie WheltonLisa Richardson, Prof Jennifer Beecham, T. Baumker and Dr Jill Bradshaw


Social care services provide support to many people with learning disabilities and complex needs who would formerly have lived in NHS long-stay institutions. However, care services often have difficulty meeting the wide-ranging needs of these people. The opportunities presented by more personalised service models require the support of skilled staff if they are to be realised by people with complex needs. The quality of staff support has been shown to be a critical factor in determining a person’s quality of life in small group homes and supported accommodation. In this context, firmer evidence is needed of the effects of skilled support on a range of user outcomes and on the costs of service provision. This will enable people with learning disabilities (and their advocates), service providers and commissioners to identify and promote the most appropriate skilled support and to achieve value for money in the provision of services.

This project
• will evaluate the impact of skilled staff support on the lives of people with learning disabilities and complex needs, and describe the nature of the support required and the implications of providing this support.
It aims to
• investigate whether skilled staff support, as defined by previous research, is associated with higher quality of life for people with complex needs
• explore which domains of quality of life, if any, are influenced by skilled staff support
• establish whether, having controlled for the needs and characteristics of participants, better outcomes cost more money
• consider how aspects of organisation and management relate to the provision of skilled staff support
• draw conclusions about the implications, for service organisation and management, of providing skilled support.


Staff and managers perspective of skilled support June 2014
What are the staff and manager’s perspectives of skilled support?
Quality of life and quality of support for people with severe intellectual disabilities and autism
Quality of communication support for people with severe IDD living in supported accommodation settings
People on the autism spectrum who have intellectual disabilities: how do people communicate and what support do they get – Autism Europe 2016

Project findings

Copy of the project findings – NIHR School for Social Care Research

The project timescales – July 2010 to 30 Sept 2012