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In Journal of applied research in intellectual disabilities : JARID

BACKGROUND : During the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people with disabilities living in home care facilities could not receive visitors. The use of virtual social contact has been recommended by health authorities. This systematic review examined the scientific evidence of the use and feasibility of information and communication technology (ICT) for social contact by people with intellectual disabilities living in care facilities, and potential effects on well-being.

METHODS : Five databases were searched using traditional systematic screening and machine-learning supported screening. Findings are presented in a narrative synthesis using thematic analysis.

RESULTS : Nine studies were included. We described three themes: means of ICT used for social contact; effects on well-being; and benefits, barriers, and preconditions.

CONCLUSIONS : Engaging in virtual social contact may be feasible for people with severe to mild intellectual disabilities, but there is little concrete evidence that this can be used as an alternative for in-person contact.

Bakkum Lianne, Schuengel Carlo, Sterkenburg Paula S, Frielink Noud, Embregts Petri J C M, de Schipper Johanna Clasien, Ten Brug Annet, Tharner Anne


COVID-19, information and communication technology, interpersonal relationships, social contact, systematic review, well-being