Around one million people with disabilities live in inpatient facilities throughout Germany. Of these, about one fifth live in integration assistance institutions, which, since 2020, are now referred to as special or communal living arrangements. These are intended to provide person-centred services for people with disabilities, as this is generally where they spend most of their everyday lives and are provided with assistance services, such as help with housekeeping, life planning or leisure activities.
A new project developed by the Chair of Sociology of Diversity headed by Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Wacker entitled “The Corona Pandemic in Special Living Arrangements for People with Disabilities. Snapshots and Future Planning on Equality and Participation in Health Care in 2020”, in short “Living Healthily: WoGe2020” was recently initiated. It examines how healthcare tasks coupled with social and societal participation entitlements and equality were and are being implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic in the various special living arrangement types. On the one hand, the focus lies with the residents of the special living arrangement types (people with disabilities and chronically mentally ill people), on the other hand with the professionals working in the accommodation facilities, especially social, medical-therapeutic, educational and nursing service providers. The project will run for one year and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS).
“This project is designed to identify the points at which positive or negative experiences have been made regarding special living arrangements”, explains Prof. Wacker. “The procedures for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in its early stages varied greatly throughout Germany, which is why we are now trying to produce an analysis of which solutions proved to be the most effective. The project will also examine the measures, risks and emergencies the facilities were faced with in the various care regions.
In the first step, all registered providers of integration assistance for special living arrangements will be contacted directly or via their professional associations and invited to participate in the survey. Individual questionnaire forms with precisely defined question fields will be developed to address the residents' special needs. “Our goal is to conduct a total of 100 qualitative surveys nationwide with this group of residents. A mixed format approach involving on-site interviews and optional telephone interviews will be used for this purpose”, says Prof. Wacker. “We are trying to stay as close as possible to people's lives with the help of qualitative questioning. We want to depict everyday life in the best possible way and inquire about fields of action.”
In a second step, five to seven institutional formats will be examined nationwide, differing not only in size but also in regional characteristics. “Among other things, this step aims to cover the diversity of organisations out there. Therefore, the sample will be enriched until a certain level of saturation is reached”, Prof. Wacker explains the procedure. Here, the focus lies with the institutions' employees, who are all qualified to varying degrees. These include nurses, assistants, cleaning and meal service staff, but also medical and specialist medical staff, outpatient services and management. “Ideally, we want to reach the people who are closest to the residents.” These persons will then be interviewed regarding the situation during the COVID-19 pandemic in focus groups and structured discussion rounds. These discussions will place a particular emphasis on detailed descriptions of everyday experiences.
Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Wacker
Chair of Sociology of Diversity
phone: 089 289 24460
Text: Romy Schwaiger