Clinicians should routinely assess the impact of staff psychological factors on clinical interventions for people with learning disabilities


There is a growing literature on the interaction of issues that impact on outcomes for people with learning disabilities who live in supported housing or other residential services. Issues relating to the organisation of supports can play a key role in influencing outcomes. This review of the literature set out to look at these issues and in particular staff psychological factors, which the authors believe to be increasingly being important. This review looked at staff attitudes, attributions, well being and other factors that may impact on outcomes for residents.

They found that staff beliefs were associated with the relationship between challenging behaviour and burnout experienced by staff.  Outcomes relating to significant changes for people with disabilities such as placement breakdown appeared to influenced by staff attributions. They suggest that there is an emerging body of evidence suggesting staff psychological factors could also influence the quality of physical healthcare received by people with learning disabilities.

The authors conclude that there is now sufficient evidence to suggest that clinicians should routinely assess and evaluate staff psychological factors when considering clinical interventions as these factors are likely to impact on the effectiveness of the intervention and subsequent outcome for residents. They recommend further research, in particular, evaluating specific impacts of staff psychological factors on resident outcomes.

How do staff psychological factors influence outcomes for people with developmental and intellectual disability in residential services? Rose, J, Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 24, 5, 403–407

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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