Table of Contents
International Journal of Family Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 678127, 6 pages
Research Article

Measuring Staff Empowerment Regarding Health Care for Clients with Intellectual Disabilities

1Department of Family Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Dowling 5, 771 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118, USA
2Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, 801 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02118, USA
3Department of Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health, 715 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118, USA

Received 3 October 2013; Revised 9 January 2014; Accepted 12 January 2014; Published 25 February 2014

Academic Editor: Jens Søndergaard

Copyright © 2014 Joanne Wilkinson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Women with intellectual disabilities (ID) contract breast cancer at the same rate as the general population but have higher breast cancer mortality and lower rates of breast cancer screening. Many women with ID live in group homes or supported residences where they are cared for by direct support workers. While direct support workers are thought to influence client health, this effect is underresearched, and we lack tools for measuring staff empowerment and perceptions regarding client health. Methods. We developed and validated an instrument, the staff empowerment tool (SET), to measure staff empowerment as related to supporting clients in preventive health. Results. The SET was found to be a reliable instrument for measuring staff activation and empowerment in helping clients access mammography screening. Discussion. Quantifying staff empowerment and perspectives is important in studying and reducing disparities among adults with ID, a vulnerable population. Further research to determine the impact of staff empowerment levels on their clients’ health and health care access is suggested. The SET is a valuable tool for measuring the construct of staff empowerment, evaluating interventions, and collecting data regarding variation in staff empowerment.