The Annual Report of the National Intellectual Disability Database Committee 2014, published yesterday by the Health Research Board, charted the past 40 years of service provision for people with an intellectual disability and said there were now more service-users than ever before.
Those people are also now living longer, resulting in even more pressure on elements of the system of services available to them.
In addition, the HRB report said there was now an increased likelihood that many people with an intellectual disability will outlive their primary caregiver, which also has implications for service delivery.
According to the report: “The majority of adults with intellectual disability continue to live with their families with the aid of additional support services. As their caregivers age, a wide range of additional services is required for people who wish to continue to live as independently as possible.”
It also said there is a continuing shift away from the more traditional institutional models of care towards community-based living arrangements for those requiring residential services and the the proportion of people availing of day services continues to rise.
As of last December there were 27,887 people registered on the National Intellectual Disability Database (NIDD). When the first ‘Census of Mental Handicap’ was carried out by the HRB — then the Medico-Social Research Board — in 1974, information was collected on 4,863 people with an intellectual disability.
The report charts the changes in the way people with an intellectual disability have been catered for in terms of service provision over the following four decades.
In the report foreword, Gráinne Duffy, chairwoman of the National Disability Databases Committee, said more than 3,000 people, many with complex support needs, still live in larger, isolated institutional settings.
In a section on Unmet Need, the need for greater service provision is highlighted.
In addition to the 4,380 new residential, day and residential support places, the report also states that 13,702 service places will need to be changed or upgraded before 2019, and 19,457 multi-disciplinary support services will either need to be enhanced or replaced with new multidisciplinary services.
According to the report: “There remain high levels of unmet need among a critical number of individuals who are registered on the NIDD, particularly those aged over 35 and require a full-time residential place in the next five years.”
According to the NIDD, 27,515 people with intellectual disability were in receipt of services at the end of last year — the highest number of people in receipt of services since the database was established in 1995 — while 229 people were without services and were identified as needing them.