Time to Move on from Congregated Settings – A strategy for Community Inclusion is a model of support where people with disabilities are supported to move from large institutions (congregated settings) to their own homes in the community with the supports they need. It is about supporting people to ‘live ordinary lives in ordinary places’.
Congregated settings are where 10 or more people with a disability live together in a single living unit or are placed in accommodation that is campus based. In most cases, people are grouped together and often live isolated lives away from the community, family and friends. Many experience institutional living conditions where they lack basic privacy and dignity.
Moving away from congregated settings to community living
The report recommends that people who live in congregated settings should move to their own homes in the community with the support they need.
The HSE and disability service providers have been working with people with a disability, and their families, to progress the move to community living; to identify where people would like to live, who they would like to live with and the activities they would like to be involved in within their community.
People are being supported by their service providers, families and/or advocacy services to assist them in expressing their preferences about their living arrangements. They might choose to live on their own, share with others who do not have a disability, share with others who have a disability (maximum of four people) or opt for long-term placement with a family.
Living arrangements are similar to the general population and people receive the support they need to live in their own homes. They can make choices about the activities they would like to do such going to the cinema, bowling, shopping, attending church, GAA matches etc. They can choose how they want to decorate their own living space and be involved in every day activity in the house.
People are supported to access their own GP, pharmacist and other primary care services, home help and specialist services as necessary. Also, rather than services coming on site, as is often the case in a congregated setting, visits to the local hairdressers, beauticians, barbers and other services are encouraged. People will also be supported to participate in day services that are more mainstream and based on a person’s interests such as Tidy Towns, supported employment opportunities in local businesses, local VEC training courses etc.
Disability service providers work closely with the individual, their families and advocates to develop plans for each person to ensure they are fully supported in all elements of life such as relationships, employment, hobbies, recreational activities and personal choice. The HSE and all relevant stakeholders are fully committed to supporting the transition to community living and will continue to do so ensuring that people with a disability are at the centre of all decision making about their lives.