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Report on Kimberley welcomed

Hon David Cunliffe
Minister of Health

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister for Disability Issues

17 September 2008

Report on Kimberley welcomed

Health Minister David Cunliffe and Disability Issues Minister Ruth Dyson today welcomed a report into the closure of the country’s last big institution for intellectually disabled individuals.

The Donald Beasley Institute examined the impact of the closure three years ago of the Kimberley Centre.

The report, funded jointly by the Ministry of Health and the Health Research Council, reinforces previous findings that better outcomes are generally associated with less institutional, community based settings.

Mr Cunliffe said the report found that moving residents to homes they were proud of had materially improved their well-being and allowed the former residents to recognise their own skills characteristics and develop a sense of individualism.

The report also concluded the biggest gains were realised when residents were moved close to their families. This was found to have a significant impact on their quality of life.

Ms Dyson said one of the more telling findings of the report was that many former residents regained the ability to speak, simply because in a community setting they were spoken to more often.

The report did however note that some residents had trouble adjusting and not all individuals or families were always happy with the process, nor all of the outcomes.

However, overall the individuals and their families describe being better off after moving out of Kimberley.

The report showed that the longer the residents had been living outside the former institution, the greater the improvement generally was.

Mr Cunliffe said this research pointed very strongly to the important role of family in the lives of men and women with an intellectual impairment and this highlighted the importance of allowing greater family involvement.

ENDS

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