Variables influencing family members' decisions regarding continued placement of family members with mental disabilities in one state-operated institution
Colvin, Alex Don
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The purpose of the study is to identify variables influencing family members? decisions regarding continued placement of family members with mental disabilities in state-operated mental retardation institutions. This study was conducted during the spring and summer of 2006 (March through July). The participants were 51 family members of residents residing in one stateoperated institution. The survey questionnaire used in this study was developed using several similar questionnaires found in the literature as a guide. Of the 17 questions, two were taken from the Survey of Families with a Developmentally Disabled Family Member by Tausig (1985); and two were taken from the Survey of Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities by Sherman (1988). The remaining questions were generated and modified from the National Survey of the Families of Institutionalized Mentally Retarded Persons by Spreat, Telles, Conroy, Feinstein, and Colombatto (1987). All three questionnaires used were designed to assess families? perceptions of residential services. Descriptive statistics were used to report personal characteristics of family members, and correlation techniques were used to measure relationships between and among characteristics of family members and their decisions to both seek and maintain placement of their family member with mental disabilities in a state-operated institution. Major findings are: 1. Respondents were more likely to seek initial placement in a state mental retardation institution, a) because their family member with the mental disability could receive more intensive care and/or specialized programs in the institution, and b) because they were advised by physicians and/or other medical and professional specialists. 2. The need for a more protected place/secure environment was very important to family members when deciding to seek initial placement. 3. Current placement was maintained because their family member with the mental disability could receive more intensive care or specialized programs in the institution. 4. The need for 24-hour supervision that could provide for a more protected environment was reported as a reason for the decision to maintain their current placements. 5. Respondents indicated they were satisfied with services provided at the residential facility; and the need for facility, social and physical/health supports were important factors that determined family members? choices to maintain placement.