Purpose: To evaluate which needs of disabled people would be met over a one year follow-up period and to examine which factors would be predictive of identifying those people who had more needs met from those who had fewer needs met.
Method: A follow-up study of a cohort of community dwelling disabled people (aged 16-65) from two NHS Health Districts in Southern England with contrasting patterns of rehabilitation provision, who had participated in a cross-sectional interview study one year previously which had assessed their met and unmet needs. The Southampton Needs Assessment Questionnaire was used to examine needs. Disability was evaluated with the OPCS Disability and Severity Scales and perceived health status with the SF-36.
Results: Participation rate at follow-up was 92 %. Of the 300 baseline unmet needs reported by 69 of the 77 participants 33% had been met at follow-up. People whose disability had increased more and/or whose mental health status had improved more had greater percentages of their baseline needs met. There was a non-significant trend for smaller percentages of baseline needs to be met in Basingstoke than in Southampton.
Conclusions: At ground level, disabled people's views were taken into account, to some extent, in the provision of rehabilitation services. This input should be made at a higher level, in the overall shaping of services.