Introduction

SSCR provided funding during 2012-14 for a trial of a new approach to the prevention of challenging behaviour in residential social care settings for people with learning disabilities. The trial (organised as a cluster RCT) was carried out in collaboration with Dimensions. The trial set out to evaluate the impact of a strategy for improving social care on challenging behaviour and associated outcomes. 80% of standards set were achieved across settings. Structured observations blind to group membership showed substantial improvements in staff performance (e.g. in activity provision, choice and demand presentation). Ratings of challenging behaviour showed substantial and significant reductions in the experimental group. Staff reported a better quality of working life and many said they had gained skills and found the intervention enjoyable. It was concluded that some challenging behaviour in social care settings may be prevented by relatively simple interventions which attend to the quality of social care support, especially with respect to communication, health, activities, relationships and the wider social and physical environment.

The aim of this follow-up study was to establish to what extent the changes found in the original study (including service processes, staff experiences and adult outcomes) have been maintained. Data gathered included the primary outcome measure (scores on Aberrant Behaviour Checklist) of challenging behaviour. It aimed to collect a subset of the data previously collected at baseline and immediately after the intervention in both experimental and control group settings.