May 03rd 2021

Did we forget about people with disabilities in Tyrol during the Corona crisis?

Research project on “Social space oriented and inclusive participation of people with disabilities in the border region Bavaria-Tyrol” of the Diakonie Rosenheim and the MCI

The main goal of this project, conducted since April 2020, is to improve the living conditions of adult people with disabilities in the areas of “work/education”, “housing”, and “leisure” within the border region of ‘Bavaria – Tyrol’. The focus is on people with learning difficulties, physical and sensory disabilities as well as psychological disabilities.

In the medium and long-term, the establishment and intensification of cross-border, needs-based, barrier-free services should contribute to synergetic offers for people with disabilities and strengthen the border region as inclusion-friendly social space. The project is funded within the framework of the EU program “INTERREG Austria – Bavaria 2014 – 2020”.

Although the measures were taken only woth the best of intentions, the results show that the generalized classification of people with disabilities as COVID-19 risk group is perceived as “inappropriate” and imposes constraints in many areas of life. Extensive restrictions are reported, enhancing social isolation and counteracting previous inclusion successes. Due to quarantine measures, there have been staff shortages in care and assistance structures, job losses and closings of day structures, and reduced mobility offers for people with disabilities. The maintenance of several offers thereby depends on the individual motivation of responsible persons. Relatives are confronted with organizational and financial problems when taking over additional nursing and care services. People with disabilities, relatives, and service providers complain about the lack of transparency in crisis management. This results in uncertainty and difficulties in planning. The following suggestions for improvements were derived from the interviews:

  • Participatory development of a classification process that recognizes diversity and differences
  • Establishment of crisis teams in facilities and institutions as well as a crisis-proof resource planning
  • Expansion of movement spaces in facilities
  • Establishment of a safety net for relatives, that substitutes underperforming facilities on short notice

The results also revealed other problematic areas: Information management, deficits in mobility services, labor market inclusion, classification of disability and digitalization.

The findings, fields of action, and recommendations are available on the project website

Lukas Kerschbaumer, BA, MA is more than happy to get in touch and to answer any further questions:

Project Manager Lukas Kerschbaumer, BA, MA
Center for Social & Health Innovation
+43 512 2070 – 7421


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Reseach project on people with disabilities in Tyrol during the Corona crisis. Photo: ©pixabay