Measuring the mediators: initiating, maintaining and interrupting interactions. How do support workers support social inclusion?

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Being engaged in our community at a level, with which we feel comfortable, could be a measure of the quality of our lives. But how do workers who support people with learning disabilities help them in ways, which can achieve this? What helps and what gets in the way?

Here, in her debut blog, Paula Hopes looks at a naturalistic observation study that looked at this issue in more detail.

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Support workers lacked knowledge of early indicators of dementia in people with learning disabilities

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People with learning disabilities have been found to have increased risk of developing mental health problems. The knowledge of mental health issues amongst support workers however is also known to be sometimes lacking. The authors of this study were interested in looking at what support workers knew about mental health of older people with learning [read the full story…]

Staff in residential services recognise importance of setting communication goals to improve quality of life but lack consistent guidelines

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BILD’s communication factsheet suggests that estimates of the proportion of people with learning disabilities who have difficulties with communication vary between 50% and 90%. For many people with learning disabilities, this communication will be non-verbal, or working at a pre-lingual level, which mean the use of many means including gesture, facial expression, sign language, picture [read the full story…]

Needs of carers and supporters must be acknowledged to ensure good support to bereaved people with learning disabilities

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In recent years, a number of studies have begun to explore bereavement and grief in people with learning disabilities. Hollins and Esterhuyzen (1997) for example in the late 1990s reported the results of a matched control group study into the reaction of people with learning disabilities to bereavement, which found highly significant differences significant differences [read the full story…]

End of life care for people with learning disabilities explored through experiences of support staff

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In the late 1990s, a group of people concerned about the quality of palliative care being offered to people with learning disabilities started a voluntary organiation now known as the PCPLD Network. The work of the network has raised awareness of the issue and also supported the research agenda into this topic. This current qualitative [read the full story…]

Paid carers in US residential study respond to prosocial behaviours of people with severe self injury

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Estimates for the prevalence of self injurious behaviour vary from 4% to 10% as a result of case definition differences and study methodologies. However, such behaviours have a major impact of the quality of life of those involved and present challenges to family members and paid carers. There is some evidence emerging that suggests that [read the full story…]

Multisensory storytelling did not result in high quality staff interactivity

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Storytelling has a key role to play in a development and the extension of storytelling to people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD) as an individualised activity, has been increasingly undertaken emphasising the sensory experience and the potential for social interaction. The authors of this study appear generally positive to the approach, although the [read the full story…]

Study findings suggest need for policy reconciliation between duty of care and promoting autonomy

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National policy in the UK surrounding the support of people with learning disabilities stresses the autonomy of people in receipt of support and the need for those who support them to maximise this. However, support workers also have a duty of care and can find these two policy objectives in conflict with each other. The [read the full story…]

Adults with learning disabilities living in family homes may have fewer activity opportunities than those in staffed homes

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Many people with learning disabilities live in the family home, but few studies have focused on the issue of quality of life of such individuals. The researchers in this study set out to look at household and community activity for people living in the family home and compare this with those in out-of-family placements. The [read the full story…]

Mindfulness may combat staff burnout

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Mindfulness in modern psychology relates to bringing complete attention to the present experience, often involving a non-judgmental attitude to that experience. The authors in this study wanted to look at whether a new measure of staff values in learning disability services could help to better understand the potential effectiveness of mindfulness in the well being [read the full story…]