Report from the Working Group on Improving Public Policies and Programs Affecting Persons with Mental Retardation and Other Developmental Disabilities. Report from the Working Group on Improving Public Policies and Programs Affecting Persons with Mental Retardation and Other Developmental Disabilities : Table 20

12/01/1988

: Table 20

Re:Development change associated with placement in smaller units within institutional settings
Title:Quality of Life of Mentally Retarded Adults Transferred from Large Institutions to New Small Units.
Authors:Heather Hemming, Tony Lavender, and Roisin Rill.
Published:American Journal of Mental Deficiency
Date:1981, Vol. 86(2)
Method:The study was designed to assess changes in quality of life for residents transferred from large traditional institutions to new small units within the general confines of the larger institution. The instruments used were King and Raynes’ Scale of Management Practices (indicator of quality of care), Butler and Bjaanes’ criteria for therapeutic institutions, and the ABS to assess changes in adaptive behavior. An own-control, pre- and post-condition design and matched-pairs design were used with 51 severely mentally retarded adults (experimental=38, control=33) for a period of 2 years.
Summary of Findings:A significant decrease in institution-oriented practices of both the large and new small institutions was seen during the research period. Frequency and quality of interactions increased greatly in the small units; participation in normal or near normal activities tended to decrease for the more able residents. Significant ABS increases in Language Development were confined to higher ability residents in the first year only; both higher and lower ability residents attained their peak improvement 9 months after transfer. Higher ability residents (IQs 40-50) maintained their improvements 2 years after transfer if they lived in restricted environments. Total maladaptive behavior increased between transfer and 4 months after transfer, with the lower ability residents accounting for the increase. The general instability of developmental gains by persons moved to the new units when compared with those remaining in the traditional institution provides no support for the practice of building group homes on the grounds of larger institutions (as New York has been doing recently).