Positive behavioural support for adults with intellectual disabilities and behaviour that challenges: an initial exploration of the economic case

Iemmi V, Knapp M, Saville M, McWade P, McLennan K, Toogood S

International Journal of Positive Behavioural Support 2015, 5, 1: 16—25

Available online 1 Mar 2015


Background: Since the closure of long-stay hospitals, positive behavioural support and person centred approaches have been recognised and encouraged to support people with intellectual disabilities in the community.

Method and materials: A small before-after study was conducted to explore the economic case for a positive behavioural support service for five adults with intellectual disabilities and behaviour that challenges in a small local authority in England. Evidence from a Delphi exercise was used as comparator.

Results: The service was effective in improving the outcomes (behaviours that challenge, activity engagement, community participation) at a total cost of services of £2,296 per week. By maintaining persons with less severe challenges in the community (£9 to £164 per week) and those with more severe behavioural needs in less service-intensive residential accommodations (£1,213 to £3,696 per week), the service may potentially reduce public services cost in the long term.

Conclusions: The positive behavioural support service may have the potential to improve outcomes and lower cost of care in the long term.