assessment of need, cost analysis, economics of social care, individualised budgeting, intellectual disability, resource allocation model
The recent economic crisis along with changing demographic trends has stimulated an increased interest in the value obtained from social care expenditure so as to ensure the sustainability of systems in the future.
In Ireland, the Department of Health, further to a recent review of its disability services, committed to a new approach that will reshape and redesign its service provision. It speciﬁcally outlined a reorganisation of ﬁnancing services, from a model of prospective block grant funding to a system of individualised budgeting based on an assessment of need.
This paper examines the relationship between need, service utilisation and cost for high-cost users of adult intellectual disability residential services in an Irish county under the current model of block grant ﬁnancing.
The analysis reported is based on primary data collected from 68 high-cost users of adult intellectual disability residential services in an Irish county in 2013.
Statistical analysis was performed to identify the relationship between need and cost, and also to examine the variations in the cost of support between the service provider organisations.
Our analysis determined an association between need and cost, with poorer levels of psychological well-being related to higher costs. However, the study found no evident relationship between staff/client ratios, the numbers of staff engaged at the residential units and need.
An examination of cost variations between the service provider organisations revealed that agency status; service unit size; client and staff characteristics all contributed to variations in the cost of care.
This study supports the development of a national resource allocation framework as being fundamental to the equitable and transparent distribution of scarce resources, as recommended by the Department of Health in Ireland.