Supporting independently living people with intellectual disabilities: A qualitative study into professional remote support practices

Miriam Zaagsma, Mark H. M. Koning, Karin M. Volkers, Alice P. Schippers, Geert van Hove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic


Background: Professional support for people with intellectual disabilities is increasingly delivered remotely. Understanding what support workers do to support people with intellectual disabilities remotely, and how they do this, is therefore important. The purpose of this study was to gain insight into the remote support practice of the support staff of the Dutch service DigiContact. Methods: A qualitative study was performed in which we followed an inductive-iterative process and used different sources of information: documents, interviews with people who are supported by DigiContact and their caseworkers, and interviews with DigiContact support workers. Findings: Seven themes were constructed and described. Four themes reflected the support activities of DigiContact support workers, and three themes reflected qualities that guide how the support is provided. Conclusions: A remote support context can bring both challenges and opportunities to the practice of supporting people with intellectual disabilities. The findings can be useful for service organisations who are contemplating the adoption of remote support initiatives for people with intellectual disabilities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-388
JournalBritish Journal of Learning Disabilities
Issue number3
Early online date13 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • eHealth
  • intellectual disabilities
  • remote support
  • services
  • support practice
  • support staff

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