Purpose: To examine the met and unmet needs for rehabilitation of disabled people living in the community in Southern England.
Method: A cross sectional interview study of people with a primary physical disability, aged 1665. Disabled people were randomly selected from two existing disability registers, which comprised disabled people who had been identified by community rehabilitation services as being in need of regular surveillance by formal assessment of their care needs. A new semi-structured needs assessment questionnaire was developed and validated for the study (the Southampton Needs Assessment Questionnaire, SNAQ). Level of disability was examined with the OPCS Disability and Severity Scales.
Results: Ninety three disabled people participated. Their median (IQR) OPCS score was 8 (6-10). Participants reported a median (IQR) of three unmet needs (2-7). The most prevalent unmet needs were for adaptations, equipment, physiotherapy and wheelchairs, rather than unmet needs for intellectual and social fulfilment.
Conclusions: Disabled people who were already in touch with community rehabilitation services continued to express unmet needs for further services. Meeting the more basic needs relating to people's housing, equipment, physiotherapy and wheelchairs may enable them to be more independent and fulfilled in other areas of their lives.