Long-Term Care for People With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities #AtoZChallenge

Hi everyone and welcome to my letter L post in the #AtoZChallenge. Today, I want to talk about long-term care as it pertains to individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. My post is going to be a bit centric to the Dutch situation, as that is what I know best.

In the Netherlands, people who need lifelong care fall either under the Long-Term Care Act or the Social Support Act. Criteria for the Long-Term Care Act are very strict, as it covers lifelong 24-hour care in a care facility (or in some cases at home, but I don’t know that much about that). In other words, to qualify for this type of care, you need to prove that you will never be able to live without 24-hour care. The Social Support Act covers community-based supports, but also temporary supported housing, such as independence training for young adults. (Care for under-18s is covered by the Youth Act, which is in some ways similar to the Social Support Act but covers more domains.)

The Social Support Act is implemented by the local government. This means that, if you decide to move while receiving social care, you’ll need to reapply. Since care under the Social Support Act isn’t lifelong either, you will also often need to reapply. Some cities will grant significantly disabled people funding for five years, but some won’t and this means you’ll need to have a “dinner table talk” as assessments are called, each year. On the other hand, under the Long-Term Care Act, your right to your care profile is lifelong and countrywide.

Care profiles make up the funding classification system in long-term care. These care profiles are based on one’s primary care ground and then on one’s level of care needed. There are criteria for each care ground and then criteria for each level. For instance, for intellectual disability care profiles, an IQ below 85 that was apparent before the age of 18 is required. I do for this reason obviously not qualify for an intellectual disability care profile. My care profile is based on visual impairment.

Until 2021, psychiatric disorders, and that included autism if you happened to have an IQ above 85, were exempt from qualifying an individual for the Long-Term Care Act. The reasoning was that mental illness is treatable, so individuals with psychiatric disorders cannot prove they’ll need 24-hour care for the rest of their lives.

Back to care profiles. For intellectual disability, there are I think six different profiles. Most people with profile 3 and 4 (profiles 1 and 2 no longer exist) will live in community-based supported housing. I am more familiar with people with care profile 5 and 8, which are severely intellectually disabled people who need a lot of (profile 5) or total care (profile 8). I am also familiar with profile 7, which is for individuals with an intellectual disability and significant challenging behavior. My visual impairment care profile is comparable to profile 7 in intellectual disability.

These three profiles I mentioned, are the only ones that can qualify a person for “extra care”, ie. what I usually refer to as one-on-one support. Extra care, unlike the care profile itself, is temporary and specific to the regional Care Office. For this reason, if I am to move out of the area of my Care Office, I will lose my one-on-one and my new care agency will need to reapply.

Legal jargon aside, what is it like living in long-term care? Well, most agencies for the intellectually disabled have one or more main institutions but they do aim for community-based living when possible. In fact, when integration was hyped up in the 1990s, some agencies simply demolished their institutions and started moving even the most severely disabled or behaviorally challenged individuals into the community. Back in 2006 or 2007, I criticized a documentary criticizing this move, saying it was poor care that caused deinstitutionalization to fail. However, let me just say I’ve made up my mind.

9 thoughts on “Long-Term Care for People With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities #AtoZChallenge

    1. I am indeed. I know that compared to even other western European countries, people in the Netherlands are quite well off. It could of course always be better, but I know people in other countries have it a lot worse.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. With respect to long-term care, it is. With respect to health insurance (such as GP and hospital services), the Netherlands has just the right mix of public and private, I think.

          Liked by 1 person

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