The COVID-19 pandemic is having severe impacts on millions of people living in institutional settings globally, including those with disabilities, children and older people. This is the key finding from a new report by researchers at the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre (CPEC) at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), who are calling for greater efforts to support individuals with disabilities and older people to live in community settings.
Initiated by the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the researchers were invited to explore the experiences of individuals of all ages living in institutional settings during COVID-19.
The report identifies prejudice against those with disabilities and ageism as a key barrier to deinstitutionalisation, resulting in a lack of societal commitment to change the status quo.
The report also sets out several recommendations to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities and age-related needs, including:
- Improve societal awareness of disabilities and tackle discrimination;
- Involve individuals with disabilities and older people in all discussions of policy change and practice development;
- Establish community-based care by developing high-quality services, support people to make informed choices about where they live, and help families to support their loved ones;
- Ensure that every child, whatever their disabilities or needs, lives in a family setting;
- Commit adequate funding to community-based support and transfer resources from institutions to community-based services;
- Ensure lessons are learnt from COVID-19 for future pandemics, and commit enough resources to health and care systems to protect persons with disabilities and older people;
- Improve legal and policy frameworks to incentivise community-based support;
- Recognise the need for long-term commitment.
Download the report “Crystallising the Case for Deinstitutionalisation”