Participation as a Function of Independent Living Services: Do They Make A Difference?
This study examined participation outcomes of Center for Independent Living Consumers. Participants were identified from 20 CILs that represented the approximate top and bottom quartile on staff satisfaction with the effectiveness of their center for increasing community participation among their consumers. Results included statistically significant differences in consumer participation outcomes.
Participation in community life is the ultimate goal of rehabilitation. Centers for Independent Living provide advocacy and services aimed at improving independent living outcomes, yet their effect on their consumers’ community participation is largely unknown. This study measured the value of 89 independent living service characteristics for increasing the community participation of CIL consumers. We surveyed 420 CIL staff members representing 61 CILs who rated the importance of each characteristic and their satisfaction with how well their center addressed each characteristic. Top-rated items reflect CIL service dimensions of consumer choice and consumer control and each of the four core CIL services (i.e., information and referral, peer support, advocacy and skills training). Next, we selected centers in the top and bottom quartile of these satisfaction ratings who randomly selected 20 consumers from their case service records to complete community participation measures (PARTS Gray et al, 2006). Results from 100 consumers who completed participation measures indicated that CIL staff satisfaction with IL services predicted an overall difference in accessing community (e.g., restaurants, stores and public parks), but not in the development of longer term social roles (e.g., religious participation, volunteering and employment). The impact of CIL services on participation varied across age groups and community sites and roles. Results will be discussed to highlight future research questions suggested by this exploratory study.