Evidence and Practice
Why you should read this article • To enhance your awareness of how online networking can enhance your practice • To gain knowledge of the benefits of using social media for nursing students and nurses • To understand how being a member of a professional network group can provide learning disability nursing students with opportunities to develop and practise leadership skills Changes in health and social care, the complex health needs of the learning disability population and diversification of learning disability nursing roles have led to an increased need for professional networking. This can assist nurses and nursing students in communicating effectively with each other, developing professional connections and sharing optimal practice and expertise worldwide. This article describes the experience of a group of learning disability nursing students who collaborated with the Scottish Learning Disability Nursing Network steering group to promote online networking among their peers and nurses. It also outlines the role of the learning disability nursing students in this collaboration and how it has enhanced their leadership skills, as well as describing the benefits of professional online networking.
Some children and young people with a learning disability also present with behaviour that challenges, which can require significant care input from their parents or carers. Without specialist skilled support to meet the needs of these children and young people, behaviour that challenges can continue through adolescence and into adulthood. This article explores the development of a family training programme in one NHS trust, which aimed to provide the parents and carers of children and young people with a learning disability with safe strategies to manage behaviour that challenges. The training programme assisted parents and carers to develop confidence in managing behaviour that challenges and improved the quality of life of children and young people with a learning disability.
Reflexivity can be used by researchers to manage their thoughts, feelings and preconceptions
Exploring the evidence base for mindfulness-based interventions for people with LDs
Supporting and mentoring learning disability nursing students can be rewarding for all parties, but the challenge is to ensure that the process is robust and effective. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) standards for entry to the register require that all nursing students are competent in the four domains of professional values; communication and interpersonal skills; nursing practice and decision-making; and leadership, management and team working. Providing nursing students with the opportunity to practise and become competent in these domains formed the basis of the Telford model’s development. This article describes the model and explains how it works in practice, using the experiences of nursing students and their mentors. The article also shows how implementing the model can improve students’ competence and confidence while increasing placement capacity, which easily matches the new NMC standards to support learning and assessment in practice.
The benefits of a communication forum specifically in support of community reintegration
Why you should read this article • Mental health concerns in people with intellectual disabilities can be difficult to identify due to various factors, including the person’s physical health, behaviour and cognition, and formal and informal carers’ skill deficits and attitudes • Knowledgeable and skilled health professionals must be present in the daily lives of people with an intellectual disability to identify and explore emerging mental health issues, make referrals, implement interventions and monitor outcomes • Registered intellectual disability nurses play a vital role in ensuring that the mental health of people with an intellectual disability is addressed and maximised Mental health concerns are prevalent in regard to those with intellectual disability. There are many reasons for this, some of which may relate to the causation of the person’s intellectual impairment. Other extraneous factors, such as the number of significant life events, may also result in compromised mental health. For many people, however, mental health problems may go untreated, which may relate to difficulties in diagnosis or in ascribing the signs and symptoms to other causes. With increasing numbers of people with an intellectual disability making use of regular community health services, and the reported unfavourable nature of such services, mental health problems may not be addressed. Registered intellectual disability nurses have a crucial role to play in ensuring that the mental health concerns of people with an intellectual disability are identified and addressed in an expeditious manner to achieve maximum well-being. This article explores such mental health concerns and, drawing on a brief case study, describes the role of nurses.
Asthma is a long-term condition that requires patient education, support and close monitoring. It is important that individuals are empowered and educated about their asthma and supported to self-manage as appropriate. Self-management is a goal that is recommended as an established and effective approach. However, it can be challenging for many individuals, including those with learning disabilities. Learning disability nurses can support individuals diagnosed with asthma to self-manage the condition and should have the knowledge, skills and competence to do so.
Care should be person-centred, holistic and underpinned by current evidence-based practice
The knowledge and skills required to manage patients with a PEG tube safely and effectively
Many adults with intellectual disabilities require nutritional support as feeding problems are prevalent in this population. While many types of nutritional support are available, enteral feeding tubes, such as nasogastric (NG) tubes, are considered safe and effective. NG tube feeding is a common clinical procedure carried out to maintain patients’ nutritional needs when they have swallowing difficulties or cannot tolerate oral feeding. Insertion of an NG tube provides adequate nutrition and improves positive health outcomes and quality of life, but being fed through an NG tube may alter patients’ perceptions of feeding and mealtimes. Healthcare professionals, including intellectual disability nurses, should not underestimate the social aspect of mealtimes or the physical and psychological effects of NG tube feeding in patients with intellectual disabilities. Demonstrating competence and compassion with regard to insertion and care of an NG tube and applying best practice to ensure patient safety and well-being are critical to supporting patients with intellectual disabilities.
Healthcare professionals who support people who require an inhaler or nebuliser need to know how to use the devices, monitor and assess patients’ inhaler techniques effectively. Often, people have inadequate inhaler techniques, which can lead to poor management of their respiratory condition, increased signs and symptoms, reduced quality of life and increased use of primary/secondary care services and treatment costs. This article explains how to use inhalers and nebulisers appropriately and considers some of the challenges for children and adults with a learning disability. It also describes some devices and assessment tools, and explores assessment/review methods to help ensure people use their inhalers/nebulisers successfully.