Promoting homelike environments for people with intellectual disabilities living in group homes: Using Photovoice visual methods to co-produce and explore the feasibility of a user-generated homeliness checklist and toolkit intervention

Deborah Chinn In progress  


More than a third of adults with intellectual disability (ID) known to social services in England live in registered care homes or supported accommodation, known as ‘group homes’. Research has shown that these are often designed and managed in a way that reinforces institutional living and undermines a resident’s ability to feel ‘at home’. The relative power imbalance between staff and residents also reinforces staff treating the home as their workspace and the property of the provider, rather than a home for its residents. This can shape everyday routines and risk management practices, as well as create sterile and unhomely settings, affecting residents’ wellbeing and undercut their freedom to use the setting as their own.


This study seeks to get the views and experiences of people with ID living in group homes of their group home setting, and to find out what would make their group home setting more homelike. It seeks to work with residents to use this information to create a checklist and toolkit that can be used by residents and others to check this aspect of group home living and make sure that residential providers address this important dimension of quality in group homes.


The study consists of four phases:

  1. a review of existing policy and guidance regarding quality of residential care of people with ID
  2. photo taking and interviews with adults with ID to capture their lived experience of homeliness in group homes
  3. meetings with a range of stakeholders to develop a checklist and toolkit for service providers to use with residents to find out ways to enhance homeliness in group homes
  4. exploring the practicality and acceptability of using the checklist and toolkit in residential settings.

The study adopts a participatory research approach, directly involving people with ID actively and meaningfully in all phases of the research.