Promoting intersectoral collaboration to support frail older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the community

About the Project:

Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) experience higher rates of frailty, use aging care services at earlier ages, and the subset aged 65+ years is increasing. However, once frail does not mean always frail – stability and improvement are viable goals of care, and frail adults can be successfully supported in the community.

In a knowledge transfer webinar held with nearly 200 people across Ontario (with representation of family members, researchers, service providers and decision-makers), the majority of participants viewed the health and developmental services sectors as not ready for the aging population with IDD. Participants in both sectors had a shared understanding of the need for system reform, improved collaboration, and integration of resources. While examples of inter-ministerial partnerships that successfully helped persons with IDD to remain in the community were identified, these were not commonplace or happening to the same extent across the province. Participants shared a desire to act on existing knowledge and do better.

This study builds on a successful program of research on frailty in older adults with IDD and aims to identify key elements for effective collaboration and partnership between developmental services agencies and home care providers to support frail adults with IDD in the community. An in-depth case study and document review will be conducted to identify successful strategies for intersectoral action to support frail adults with IDD in the community, and to produce related “Call to Action” resources for adults with IDD, families, and providers.

Project Team

Principal Investigators:


  • Virginie Cobigo, C.Psych — University of Ottawa

Knowledge User:

  • Sandy Stemp — Reena


  • Stephen Lam — Queen’s University

Project contact: Lynn Martin —


Keywords: intersectoral collaboration; intersectoral partnership; home care; developmental services; community care; frailty; intellectual disabilities; developmental disabilities; case study