Support model for people with learning disabilities cuts challenging behaviour by 60%

Dimensions_logoA new approach to support for people with learning disabilities has achieved some remarkable results. In randomised controlled trials the approach, dubbed Dimensions Activate, resulted in:

  • A 60% drop in challenging behaviour
  • A considerable increase in meaningful activity
  • A considerable increase in active support
  • A considerable increase in staff job satisfaction

Watch a short video press release introducing the research

The research, conducted by Dimensions in association with the University of Kent’s Tizard Centre and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, and funded by the NHS School for Social Care Research, points the way to a step change in the way providers should support people with learning disabilities and autism.

Lisa Hopkins, Managing Director of Dimensions, said, “This was a randomised control trial, one of very few in our sector, and the study was carried out over two years in 24 homes supporting one to eight people.

We implemented a new model of support in the experimental group, and the control group services continued to use Dimensions’ existing model of support.”

Activate improves the quality of social care provided in a personalised way. There are several components to the model:

Support is co-produced and designed in partnership with the people who are being supported, their families, and their support teams.

We set challenging goals in eight key areas known to affect a person’s quality of life.

Support teams help people to achieve their goals using two techniques: Active Support, and Positive Behaviour Support. Periodic Service Reviews are a formal tool we then use to set standards, monitor progress, and provide performance feedback. They help determine if the people we support are achieving the outcomes they want to, provide the evidence base for continuous improvement, and also provide data for commissioners.

Hopkins added, “Activate is not a quick fix. It will require extensive retraining of all Dimensions support teams, using a mix of practical and classroom based training, together with widespread change to management systems. But as we implement the changes through 2016 and beyond, it will lead to a real step change in the quality of life for the people we support. We hope other organisations will also make use of the publicly available research findings.”

To find out more about Dimensions Activate visit, or view the video press release.

Dimensions is a specialist provider of a wide range of services for people with learning disabilities and people who experience autism. We are a not-for-profit organisation, supporting around 3,500 people and their families throughout England and Wales.

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