Community participation has become a key outcome measure for people with disabilities. This has resulted in a shift in researchers focus from the individual to the environment. However, research has focused primarily on participation barriers in the community with limited research examining the role of the home environment. For people with mobility disabilities the home environment is the starting place for community participation and research is needed to understand the relationship between the home and participation outcomes.
This study explores the effects of a consumer-driven home modification intervention on community participation for people with mobility disabilities.
We conducted a randomized control trial (from June 2017-April 2019) of the effects of a consumer-directed home modification intervention on community participation. The intervention, the Home Usability Program, was implemented with consumers at two different Centers for Independent Living (N = 195) and included a self-assessment of their home environment and implementation of a home usability change.
The Home Usability program positively affected the community participation of people with mobility disabilities. Overall, intervention participants reported a 39.5% (p < .05) increase in social and recreational activities immediately following the intervention relative to the control group after controlling for health status and month when outcome data were collected. Six months after the intervention, this effect returned to baseline.
Community-based, consumer-driven home modification programs show promise for improving community participation outcomes among people with disabilities, however, more research is needed to understand why results did not persist.