Deinstitutionalisation: A View from Spain

Plena inclusión's project Mi Casa is part of an ambitious Spanish strategy for deinstitutionalisation.

Translation and comments by Simon Duffy based on government article 1 December 2023

Spain has committed itself to an ambitious process of deinstitutionalisation across a wide range of public services, including services for children, people with disabilities, older people and people experiencing homelessness. Citizen Network’s strategic partners at Plena inclusíon - running the ambitious Mi Casa project, plus cooperative members Aprocor and Hogar Si, are all involved in this work.

Encouragingly there seems to be wide ranging support for this work in Spanish communities connected to the issue. The following article is based on the article published by the Ministry of Social Rights, Consumer Affairs and 2030 Agenda, as part of their State Deinstitutionalisation strategy: for a good life in the community. The article notes the high level of public support for a deep and transformative change in the current systems.

This survey explored the views of different groups about the concept "deinstitutionalisation" and about the different principles of the strategy and the action associated with each of them. The audiences were people linked to the four groups impacted by the strategy:

They were people who have or are likely to have had personal experience of institutionalisation, their families, their caregivers, professionals from the social sector, experts or people who provide support or services to these population groups and others who had interest in the state strategy of deinstitutionalization - for a good life in the community (n=491). The purpose of this second consultation was:

“To collect the opinion of any person related to the different population groups to which the Strategy applies, on the main principles and strategies of State Deinstitutionalisation Strategy for a good life in the community.”

Some of the main results obtained have been:

The majority of citizens who have participated in this public consultation recognise the concept of deinstitutionalization, in most cases they have heard about the change of model:

As in the first consultation, there is a very high awareness of the need to promote a change in the care model, to promote life in society, with necessary supports for these population groups.

98.8% of those polled agreed that it was appropriate that people should be supported to live in inclusive environments and can live in their own homes, with the necessary supports:

When comparing the main principles of the Strategy, the most important was the need to develop the supports and services for the transition to a new care model; although all the principles were seen as important. (The figures in parentheses show the number things the principle very important; followed by the figure who thought the principle was quite important):

Full details of the results of this survey can be found here:

From a global perspective the Spanish Deinstitutionalisation Strategy is an important development. It is unusual and very positive that the Spanish Governments has connected together the experiences of different groups and seen them as all sharing common problems. It is also very encouraging to see the importance that the Strategy and those polled give to the freedom and citizenship of people experiencing disability. This work is also being overseen by a Ministry focused on human rights, not just services, and it is clear that this has helped Spain to avoid some of the problems we’ve seen in other countries, where vested interests can hold back progress on deinstitutionalisation.

This is very important work. It is exciting to be working in support of our colleagues and friends in Spain and we hope that this work can also encourage other countries to see the value of thinking deeply about the dangers of institutionalisation and acting with such vigour and ambition to make wide-ranging social progress.

A summary of the original article has been shared in Spanish on the Mi Casa website here.

Article | 23.04.24

community, Deinstitutionalisation, Inclusion, Spain, Article

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