Individual support plans of people with intellectual disabilities in residential services: content analysis of goals and resources in relation to client characteristics

M. A. Herps*, W. H. E. Buntinx, R. L. Schalock, G. J. P. van Breukelen, L. M. G. Curfs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background Goals and objectives as mentioned in Individual Support Plans (ISPs) were analysed to explore what domains of quality of life they are associated with, what support resources are referenced for achieving the goals, and how domains and resources are related to clients age, gender and intellectual disability (ID) level. MethodA total of 209 ISPs for persons with ID from eight residential Dutch service provider organisations were analysed. Mixed linear regression analyses were conducted to examine the relations between client characteristics and the content of goals and support resources. ResultsResults showed that ISPs of people with mild and moderate ID had significantly more goals related to independence and social participation as compared to the ISPs of people with severe and profound ID. ISPs of clients with profound ID addressed quality of life factors related to well-being' more than ISPs of all other clients. ISPs of people aged 20-34years had significantly more goals on independence than the two other age groups. ISPs of people under the age of 50 had significantly fewer goals with respect to well-being than found in ISPs of older people. Regarding the use of resources, 42.6% of the ISP goals were associated with resources from specialised services, 31.5% associated with natural resources and 25.9% associated with a combination of both natural and specialised services. In ISPs of people with mild ID, natural resources are more often mentioned, and specialised service-based resources are less often mentioned than for other people. ConclusionsThis study offers empirical feedback on ISP practices in the field of ID in the Netherlands. In light of current ISP practices, results suggest that attention should be paid to: (1) distinguishing between a service contract' and an ISP; (2) keeping a focus on the whole person in all age groups and levels of functioning and (3) involving the service recipient in ISP development and implementation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-262
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • individual support planning
  • intellectual disabilities
  • content analysis
  • quality of life

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