Inclusion Europe’s member Landesforeningen LEV (hereafter referred to as LEV) reports how a new executive order in Denmark allows municipalities to reduce the minimum hours of the accompaniment scheme for people with intellectual disabilities in residential care.
The Danish accompaniment scheme
The accompaniment scheme §97 gives adults with disabilities the right to 15 hours of individual and self-selected accompaniment per month, which can also be saved over a period of 6 months. The right to the accompaniment scheme is independent of whether the person lives in residential care or independently. However, it is a condition that persons can be accompanied without pedagogical assistance and can request accompaniment. Both of these conditions pose barriers for persons with intellectual disabilities to being granted an accompanying scheme. Moreover, the conditions disproportionately affect persons living in residential care, as municipalities can deduct hours of accompaniment if the individual receives corresponding accompaniment from staff.
An additional law, layed out in §85, aims at ensuring the right to social pedagogical accompaniment in residential care, to make sure that residents can live as independently as possible, yet the hours of accompaniment by staff are, in comparison to the accompaniment scheme, not set.
Accompaniment in residential care
Accompanied time means for many persons with intellectual disability to be able to nurture their social networks, visit their families, participate in social and cultural activities in the local community. Yet, LEV’s survey, which was conducted among 1,079 relatives, highlighted that very few persons with intellectual disabilities receive the accompaniment they need and as a consequence experience more social isolation and loneliness.
LEV’s national chairman Anni Sørensen voiced her concern about the results, which indicate that 40% of persons that do not have an accompaniment scheme only receive two or even fewer hours of individual time out per month. Additionally, only 13 % of persons living in residential care receive accompaniment as if they had been granted an accompaniment scheme of 15 hours per month.
But even those who are fortunate enough to have an accompaniment scheme, often do not receive the 15 hours of accompaniment to which they are entitled to.
At least one in four persons experience a cut in their accompaniment scheme because they live in residential care and it is believed that they will be accompanied by personnel instead. In many cases, the cut hours constitute for more than half of the 15 hours. Despite the residents’ entitlements for accompanied time, they often do not receive compensation from the personnel in residential care.
These cuts in accompaniment can heavily impact the lives of persons in residential care: if up to eight hours are deducted per month, persons can miss out on 96 hours in one year – an equivalent to 14 full-day trips of 7 hours a year.
LEV calls for legislative change
It was a state executive order that gave municipalities the possibility to cut the 15-hour accompaniment of persons in residential care. Now, LEV calls upon the Danish Government to change the executive order and develop a model that ensures that persons in residential care have equal access to accompaniment – and thus the opportunity to maintain social networks, be part of a local community and take part in activities.
Everyone should be able to access the accompaniment scheme and get 15 hours of accompaniment, uncut and monthly – regardless of whether persons live in a residential care or not.
Find LEV’s report here.