Evaluation of decision-making support training for disability support workers

Dr Stella Koritsas1, Ms Aleksandra Olczyk1

1Scope (Aust) Ltd, Hawthorn, Australia

The right to make one’s own decisions is a fundamental part of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Despite this, many people with cognitive disability are often excluded from making decisions. The aim of this research was to evaluate the impact of an online course about decision-making support on disability support workers (DSW).

An online course about decision-making support was developed. Participants were DSW who worked with adults with intellectual disability or acquired brain injury. Participants were recruited through disability and mainstream service providers and social media. They completed the course and a survey to explore their knowledge and attitudes about decision-making support. The survey was completed at baseline, post-course, and at 2 months follow-up.

Ninety-nine DSW completed the course and the baseline and post surveys; 36 DSW completed the course and all three surveys (baseline, post and follow-up). Following course completion, there was a significant improvement in overall knowledge about and confidence in providing decision-making support. There were also significant differences in 6 of 10 specific beliefs about decision-making support. The changes in overall knowledge about and confidence in providing decision-making support were maintained two months after course completion. Not all changes in specific beliefs were, however, maintained.

An online course can be used to improve knowledge, attitudes, and confidence about decision-making support in DSW. Strategies to encourage uptake should be considered and methods of ensuring that all changes are maintained over time


Dr Stella Koritsas is the Manager of Strategic Research at Scope Aust. Her background is in disability research with an emphasis on inclusion, health and wellbeing, and behaviour. Dr Koritsas holds an honorary appointment at the University of Melbourne and is a member of Human Research Ethics Committee at the Department of Health and Human Services Human.

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