Perspective of relatives on restrictions applied to their family members with moderate intellectual disability

A. P. S. van der Meulen*, E. F. Taminiau-Bloem, C. M. P. M. Hertogh, P. J. C. M. Embregts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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The application of restrictions plays a great part in daily support of people with moderate intellectual disability (ID). In this study we examine the evaluation of relatives of restrictions applied to their family members with moderate ID. Relatives are key and permanent figures in the lives of people with moderate intellectual disability. Moreover, relatives in their role as representatives are authorized to make decisions in case people with moderate ID are not able to oversee the consequences of their actions. To explore relatives’ evaluation of restrictions, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 10 relatives. Qualitative analysis was carried out using a thematic approach. We found that respondents consider restrictions necessary when they promote physical well-being, safety and indistinctive, ‘normal’, appearance of their family members with ID. In applying these restrictions a ‘rules are rules’ and a ‘tailor-made rules’ approach can be discerned. The ‘tailor-made approach’ provides space for dialogue with people with moderate ID. In this dialogue the criteria of proportionality, effectiveness, and subsidiarity are helpful. In using these criteria, the application of a restriction has to be in proportion, has to lead to the desired effect, and, finally, should be as unintrusive as possible for the person concerned. As such, it is recommended that, in dialogue, support staff, people with moderate ID themselves, and their relatives seek ways to examine what kinds of restrictions are justified for people with moderate ID.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-63
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Disabilities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • CARE
  • Intellectual disability
  • dialogue
  • ethics
  • justifications
  • restrictions


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