Five things we’ve learnt about the experiences of people with complex disabilities in 2023

Today we are launching our findings from our new Potential and Possibility research. Following the success of last year’s research we have repeated and refreshed the research for 2023.

A young woman with blonde hair being supported to use a computer.

Our Potential and Possibility research combines polling, our own survey and insights from people living in our services. This year we have reached over 1,500 people with complex disabilities.

This research is really important for us. We want to know what matters to people with complex disabilities, including people who are deafblind. Their views, experiences and opinions help us to make change happen. They also help us to identify where we should focus our work and campaigns.

Last year’s research identified that employment was very important for people and we used this to help shape more research and work on employment which we published recently. The other findings have also been used in our media, campaigns and policy work.

What are the headlines?

  • There continues to be differences between the experiences and wellbeing of people with complex disabilities when compared with non-disabled people. People with complex disabilities are less happy, more anxious and less likely to describe their health as good/very good.
  • Lack of accessibility in healthcare appointments remain an issue for people with complex disabilities. For instance, over a third of people with complex disabilities (34%) were not asked about how to make medical appointments accessible.
  • Over two thirds of people with complex disabilities (69%) face difficulties in being able to socialise. Barriers such as other people’s attitudes, additional costs and inaccessible location makes it harder for people with complex disabilities to go out and spend time with those close to them.
  • Although the majority of people with complex disabilities who receive practical support from social care are satisfied with the care they receive (66% were extremely satisfied and satisfied), challenges remain. Nearly a third of people with complex disabilities who receive social care (31%) have experienced staff shortages in the last 12 months. This evidences some of the challenges currently being faced by the social care sector.
  • Cost of living remains a concern for people with complex disabilities, 85% were worried about the rising cost of living. People with complex disabilities were more likely to find it difficult to afford their energy bills and rent and mortgage payments than the general population. It is clear from our research that cost of living remains a challenge for people with complex disabilities.

What happens now?

The findings above are just some of the many that we’ve been able to gather through our research. We have already started using the research to build the evidence base for our policy work. We’re also talking to some of the people who shared their experiences so we can find out more about what they’d like to see in the future.

Over the next few weeks and months you’ll see the research being used in the media, on our social media channels and as part of our campaigning work. We’ll be using the findings to help us design new research and tell more people about the lives of people with complex disabilities.

See all the findings from our Potential and Possibility research.