COMPLETED RESEARCH

Classifying support needs for people with disabilities

Llewellyn, G., Parmenter, T. R., Chan, J., Riches, V. C. & Hindmarsh, G. (2005) I-CAN: Instrument to assess and classify the support needs of people with disabilities. Final Report. Sydney: The University of Sydney. ISBN 1 86487 7243.

Parmenter, T., Llewellyn, G., Chan, J., & Riches, V. (2003). Classification of support and need. In Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), ICF Australian User Guide, Version 1.0 Disability Series (pp. 106-109). Canberra: AIHW.

Riches, V. (2003). Classification of support needs in a residential setting. Journal of Intellectual & Development Disability, 28(4), 323-341.

Riches, V., Parmenter, T., Llewellyn, G., Hindmarsh, G., & Chan, J. (2009). I-CAN: A new instrument to classify support needs for people with disability: Part I. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 22(4), 326-339.

Riches, V., Parmenter, T., Llewellyn, G., Hindmarsh, G., & Chan, J. (2009). The reliability, validity and practical utility of measuring supports using the I-CAN Instrument: Part II. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 22(4), 340-353.

Project team

University of Sydney, Centre for Developmental Disability Studies (CDDS) and Royal Rehabilitation Centre Sydney (RRCS)

Prof Gwynnyth Llewellyn
Prof Trevor Parmenter (CDDS)
Dr Vivienne Riches (CDDS)
Mr Jeff Chan (RRCS)
Ms Gabrielle Hindmarsh

Background

This three year ARC Linkage funded project was a collaboration between the University of Sydney, the Centre for Developmental Disability Studies and the Royal Rehabilitation Centre Sydney.

Disability is no longer regarded as a trait of the individual or outcome of underlying pathology. The recent determination by the World Health Organisation's (WHO) International Classification of Disability and Health (WHO, 2001) reinforced the concept of disability as a dynamic state typically incurring restricted function due to:

i. the interaction of the person (their health condition including impairment);
ii. the activities they desire to do (and any difficulties they may have in carrying these out); and,
iii. environmental and personal factors (restrictions on participating in the community such as physical access, discriminatory attitudes, particular background of an individual's life and living).

Hence, an individual's functioning in everyday life is the result of a complex relationship between these three components. To ensure equitable resource allocation to permit people with disabilities to pursue their personal goals and chosen life activities requires a rigorous and robust system capable of accurately determining the type and intensity of support needed while taking into account the components of this complex relationship.

Aim

The aim of this project was to develop an innovative, rigorous and robust system of identifying and classifying support needs based on the conceptual framework promulgated by the WHO through the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) (WHO, 2001).

Method

The instrument, named I-CAN (Instrument to Classify Support Needs for People with Disability), contains ten domain scales. The four domains covering Health and Well Being are Physical Health: Mental Emotional Health; Behaviour; and Health Services. The six domains covering Activities and Participation are Knowledge and General Tasks; Communication; Mobility; Self Care and Domestic Life; Interpersonal Interactions and Relationships; and Community, Social and Civic Life. Items are rated for support according to both frequency and level of support.

Sixteen organisations that support individuals with disabilities in residential and day programme settings participated. Overall, assessments were undertaken with a total of 1,012 adults with various disabilities. The instrument was used in a team meeting involving the person, their family and friends and staff as appropriate.

Findings & implications

  • The I-CAN provides useful and practical instrument for assessing the support needs of people with disabilities using a person centred approach. It is effective in identifying support needs across health and well being areas and activities of daily living.
  • The I-CAN is mapped to the conceptual domains of the ICF to facilitate greater awareness and understanding of the need for support to enhance the participation of people with disabilities in their communities.

For more information about the I-CAN contact: or visit http://www.i-can.org.au/

References

World Health Organization (2001). The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. World Health Organization, Geneva.

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