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Factors that influence the quality of paid support for adults with acquired neurological disability: scoping review and thematic synthesis

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Version 2 2022-07-25, 01:30
Version 1 2020-11-20, 04:16
journal contribution
posted on 2022-07-25, 01:30 authored by Megan Ciara ToppingMegan Ciara Topping, Jacinta DouglasJacinta Douglas, Dianne WinklerDianne Winkler

Purpose: Theoretically, individualised funding schemes empower people with disability (PWD) to choose high quality support services in line with their needs and preferences. Given the importance of support, the aim of this scoping review was to understand the factors that influence the quality of paid disability support for adults with acquired neurological disability. Methods: A comprehensive scoping review of the published literature from 2009–2019 was conducted on five databases: Medline, CINAHL, Embase, PsycINFO and Scopus. Results: Of the 3391 records retrieved, 16 qualitative articles were eligible for review. Thematic synthesis of the findings revealed six key interrelated themes: (1) choice and control, (2) individualised support, (3) disability support worker (DSW) qualities, (4) DSW competence, (5) PWD–DSW relationship, and (6) accessing consistent support. The themes depict factors influencing the quality of paid disability support from the perspective of PWD, close others and DSWs. Conclusions: Although the evidence base is sparse, the factors identified were in line with international rights legislation and policy ideals. The findings can provide insights to PWD hiring and managing support, and facilitate the delivery of quality disability support. Further research is required to understand the interactions between the factors and how to optimise support in practice.Implications for rehabilitation The quality of paid disability support is determined by a multitude of interrelated factors influenced by the disability support worker’s qualities and competencies, the interaction between the person with disability and the disability support worker, as well as external contextual factors. Optimising choice and control for adults with acquired neurological disability and providing individualised support should be a significant focus for disability support workers. Training modules for disability support workers can be informed by five of the identified themes: (1) choice and control, (2) individualised support, (3) DSW qualities, (4) DSW competence and (5) the relationship between PWD and DSWs.


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Disability and Rehabilitation








Taylor & Francis



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© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

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