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J Intellect Disabil Res. 2001 Apr;45(Pt 2):130-8.

Challenging behaviour in community services.

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Services for Adults with Learning Disabilities, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, London, UK.


The implementation of community care in the UK has led to the requirement that services should be able to meet the needs of adults with intellectual disability (ID) and additional needs in terms of challenging behaviour. However, the extent to which people with challenging behaviour are present in the community and the extent to which community services can support them effectively still requires significant research. The present study examines the prevalence of challenging behaviour amongst adults with ID residing in three London boroughs and the issues which arise from service delivery to this client group. All service providers and general practitioners in the area were contacted and asked to identify any individuals with ID and challenging behaviour. All responses were screened, and then key staff were interviewed for information on a range of demographic factors and on the Checklist of Challenging Behaviour. The reliability of the instrument was also assessed. Four hundred and forty-eight individuals were identified from a total borough population of 670 000. There was consistency in the types of behaviour which were frequently identified across the three boroughs. There were significant levels of self-injury as well as a range of behaviours of the 'hard to engage' type. Most individuals had more then one challenging behaviour and some individuals with seriously aggressive behaviour used local community services. Twenty-five per cent of the sample lived at home with their families and 50% were in community residential services. The boroughs differed in their ability to manage those with challenging behaviour in that one borough had many more people placed out-of-borough. Significant numbers of individuals with challenging behaviour were living in the community. The range and number of behaviours suggest that staff need to be very skilled in supporting such individuals, and that effective planning and support are essential if people with challenging behaviour are to be maintained in community settings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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