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User Participation Index

Author: Louise Pulford
Published Date: 11 February 2010

Social Development Centre SUS in Denmark, has developed an IT-based tool, for measuring and developing the degree of user participation and influence in residences for people suffering from mental illness and homelessness (the users).

The tool is called:”User Participation Index” and consists of questions concerning nine main themes:

  • Common rooms
  • Private rooms
  • Common activities
  • Help and support
  • Staff
  • Rules
  • Individual plans for residents’ stay at the residence
  • Food
  • Budged
  • Each main theme covers several details, such as rules regarding alcohol, drugs, clothing, television, visitors, bedtimes etc. The answers are automatically generated into statistics showing potential areas of development.

    What Does the Index do?
    The User participation Index:

    • measures the level of - and provides information on the development of - user influence in shelters and residences
    • shows the discrepancy between how much influence users have, and how much influence they would like to have
    • shows the difference of opinions and wishes in staff, management, and users regarding user influence

    User influence is important because it:

    • Increases independence and welfare for the service users
    • Empowers the users
    • Ensures a better match between support/services and needs
    • Improves relations between staff and service users
    • Improves the working environment in residences
    • Results in a more efficient use of resources

    The User Participation Index is still being developed progressively, but so far seven residences for people suffering from mental illness and homelessness have been using the User Participation Index. In many ways, this process has been an eye-opener to staff and professionals in the residences and it has created new ground for development and user influence.