Public health nurse home visiting improves outcomes for parents with learning disabilities

Suggestions for future research include developing effective and cost effective models of person centred care, supported living and developing approaches to support family members and carers.

This study evaluated the outcomes of a public health nurse home visiting system for mothers with learning disabilities and for those in a comparison group without learning disabilities. The study authors carried out a secondary analysis of existing family home visiting data using a two-group comparative design.  They looked at 68 (17 for mothers with LD and 51 for mothers without LD).

The study found that both mothers with and mothers without learning disabilities showed statistically significant improvements following visits from the family home visiting services. Discharge scores were higher than corresponding admission scores,.

Seven of the twenty one outcomes measured improved significantly for mothers with learning disabilities, whereas this was the case for 10 of the 21 outcomes for the comparison group.

Public health nurses in the home visiting scheme addressed 15 environmental, psychosocial, physiological and behavioural problems for both groups.

The authors conclude that family home visiting was effective in assisting parents with learning disabilities to improve outcomes in many domains and suggest that further analysis of the areas where support was most effective would provide an opportunity for service providers to better understand the needs of mothers with learning disabilities.

Family home visiting outcomes for mothers with and without intellectual disabilities, Monson K et al, in Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 55: 484–499

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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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