Glossary - Disability Support Program

Note: These terms are defined for general assistance only. For specific details of the programs please refer to the policies.

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Activities of Daily Living

Activities of Daily Living refer to basic, routine personal care activities that are essential to self-care. This includes activities such as bathing; toileting; dressing; grooming, and eating.

Adult Protection

Adult Protection refers to a program administered under the mandate of the Department of Health, which provides access to services for vulnerable adults who are victims of abuse and/or neglect. The program is administered pursuant to the Adult Protection Act.

Adult Service Centre

Adult Service Centres provide employment, skills training and day program opportunities for adults with disabilities in communities across Nova Scotia.

Adult Residential Centres

This residential option provides support to individuals who need high levels of supervision and support in basic personal care activities, and moderate levels of support with routine home and community activities. An Adult Residential Centre provides long-term structured supports and services to individuals with disabilities to enhance their development of interpersonal, community oriented, and activities of daily living skills.

Alternative Family Support

This support option allows for placement in an approved, private family home, where support and supervision is provided for up to two individuals with disabilities who are unrelated to the support provider. People in this program receive support with basic routine-care activities such as dressing, eating, bathing, and routine home and community activities.


The process is used to determine eligibility and the type of residential support, which is required by an adult with a disability applying for admission to the Disability Support Program Program.

Community-Based Homes

Community-Based Homes refer to residences, which offer programs designed to meet the support needs of individuals with disabilities. The intent of the programs offered is to enhance each resident’s potential to live, work, and socialize in the least restrictive, most integrative circumstances available in the community.

Developmental Residence

A Developmental Residence refers to a residential living support option that provides 24-hour support and supervision for four or more eligible individuals who need moderate support with basic personal care activities, and high support with routine home and community activities. Developmental Residences provide program support, which emphasize the development of interpersonal, self-care, domestic, and community oriented skills. Developmental Residences provide more intensive life skill development support than that provide in a Group Home.

Direct Family Support

Direct Family Support refers to families who care for a family member at home with a disability. It is recognized that caregivers require respite supports. This program provides funding to enable families to purchase respite services.


Refers to severe and persistent restriction or impairment that results in an inability to perform an activity in the range or within the range considered normal for someone of the same age, gender, and culture. It describes a functional limitation (versus a diagnosis) and is ongoing in nature.

Group Home

A Group Home refers to a semi-independent residential living support option. Group homes can accommodate up to eight individuals with disabilities, who can function independently in basic routine personal care activities, and routine home and community skills, for up to eight hours per day. Individuals residing in this type of residential support option require minimal support in both skill areas.

Homes for Special Care

This term refers to facilities licensed pursuant to the Homes for Special Care Act and Regulations. These facilities include Adult Residential Centres, Regional Rehabilitation Centres, Residential Care Facilities, Group Homes and Developmental Residences, which are under the mandate of the Department of Community Services.

Intellectual Disability

A significantly lower-than-average intellectual functioning that is accompanied by limitations in adaptive function in at least two skills of life domains, such as communication, self care, social/interpersonal, use of community resources, mobility, functional academic skills and behavioral presentation.

Long Term Mental Illness

Refers to a persistent alteration in a person’s thinking, feeling or behaviour, which creates difficulties in functioning normally, socially or at leisure; examples include schizophrenia, chronic mood disorders.

Physical Disability

Physical disability refers to a significant ongoing physical limitation that substantially limits independence and requires ongoing supervision, support, or skills development, but not nursing care.

Regional Rehabilitation Centre

This residential option provides support to individuals who need a moderate level of support in basic personal care activities, and routine home and community activities, as well as high levels of support with severe / multiple behaviour challenges. Regional Rehabilitation Centres provide both rehabilitation and developmental programs to individuals with disabilities who require an intensive level of support and supervision related to complex behavioral challenges and skill development needs.

Residential Care Facility

This residential option provides 24-hour support and supervision to eligible individuals with disabilities who require minimal support and supervision with routine personal-care activities, community skills and activities, and illness supervision. Individuals are provided with limited direct support / supervision and do not have major health or behavioural support needs.


In-home relief or short-term placement support provided to caregivers for a limited period of time.

Disability Support Program Program

The Disability Support Program Program is a voluntary program that provides residential, community-based and vocational / day program support to individuals with intellectual disabilities, long term mental illness or physical disabilities or a combination of disabilities. Residential services include a continuum of options ranging from support to families caring for a family member with a disability in their own home, to full 24 hour residential support. The goal is to create a range of programs that can support people at various stages of their development and independence

Small Options

Small Option Homes provide a residential support option for up to three individuals with disabilities. Qualified staff provide support in approved homes through a combination of live-in and shift models.

Special Needs

Unexpected (i.e. not present at time of functional assessment) needs that arise in relation to supporting the client and/or service provider.