Involvement in risk management process wanted by majority of sample of people with learning disabilities


Risk management is an integral part of supporting people with learning disabilities. The researchers in this study were interested to look at the involvement of people in making decisions about risks in their lives. They wanted to look at the how staff considered the individual’s ability to assess the associated risks and make an informed choice.

To do this, they worked with thirteen people in a residential service who were reviewed under the organisation’s risk management process They carried out a thematic analysis exploring the participants’ knowledge and understanding of risk management to consider the extent of their ability to make informed choices.

The analysis identified two main meta-themes, the lack of awareness about risk management and overall awareness of risk management. In addition, they identified four other meta-themes, the extent of risk management awareness, the locus of control, compliance and empowerment.

They found that nine of the thirteen participants showed some knowledge and awareness of risk management and wanted to contribute to process, despite having not been consulted and having had no opportunity to be involved in the risk management process up to that point.

They conclude from their analysis that the majority of people in the small sample did have some awareness of the purpose of risk management and were able to make some partially informed decisions about whether or not they wanted to be involved. They suggest that professionals need to continue to actively to involve people with learning disabilities in the management of their own risk.

Do Service Users with Intellectual Disabilities Want to be Involved in the Risk Management Process? A Thematic Analysis, Kilcommons, A. M. et al in Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 25: 433–444

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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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