Background: In recent years, a growing volume of research evidence has been generated about the relative cost-effectiveness of various types of community-based residential supports for people with intellectual disability (ID) in the UK. However, few reliable data are available to inform planners, commissioners or service providers about the quality and costs of providing support within residential or village communities.
Methods: The evaluation described in the present paper aimed to fill some of the gaps in knowledge by examining the comparative costs of supporting people in village community settings, in National Health Service (NHS) residential campuses and in dispersed, community-based housing schemes. The complete service package received by each study participant was described and costed, and a series of statistical analyses was undertaken to identify factors associated with variations in the cost of support. The analyses reported in the present paper were based on comparisons of 86 people living in village communities, 133 in residential campuses and 281 in dispersed housing schemes.
Results: Wide variations in cost were found, not only between models of accommodation, but between individual organizations, settings and service users. Multivariate analysis revealed that higher costs were associated with supports for people with higher levels of ID and more severe challenging behaviour. The cost of support was affected by the size of the residential setting, with smaller facilities likely to be more expensive. Associations were also found between increased costs, and services for younger users, male users and people who had not moved from a NHS hospital. Generally, more sophisticated service processes within the setting were associated with higher costs; although systematic arrangements for supervision and training of staff had a negative effect on cost.
Conclusions: The cost findings should be considered alongside evidence on outcomes. A comparison of village communities and dispersed housing schemes suggests that both models of provision appear be associated with particular benefits, although different types of setting are appropriate for different individuals and therefore, the continued development of a range of residential models is important.