Reviews

Supporting People with Intellectual Disabilities: Experiencing Loss and Bereavement

The editor has spent a lifetime exploring how people with intellectual disabilities may experience loss and bereavement during their lives and has managed to bring together a number of interesting and relevant perspectives from a variety of eminent contributors

The editor has spent a lifetime exploring how people with intellectual disabilities may experience loss and bereavement during their lives and has managed to bring together a number of interesting and relevant perspectives from a variety of eminent contributors.

The 18 chapters are divided into three areas of theory, practice and contexts, which explore the expected themes of loss, grief, spirituality, support and end of life care. However, less well-known areas of practice are also addressed, such as loss in secure environments, advocacy and empowerment.

Some helpful guidance is offered in working creatively to facilitate loss when supporting individuals who need help in communicating.

The chapter providing a parent’s perspective is aptly named ‘Living with shattered dreams’ and is a poignant reminder to us all of the daily battles or challenges that carers face in ensuring that their child has a satisfactory quality of life.

Apart from the evidence base, the strength of this text is the positive values, beliefs and person centredness that come through as you turn the pages. Good use is also made of relevant case studies, research and personal reflections to aid understanding. These values and beliefs are transferrable to caring for older people, although surprisingly and in some ways refreshingly, the text makes little explicit reference to nursing older people. Instead, loss and bereavement are explored across the lifespan. This may be because people with intellectual disability generally have a lower life expectancy compared with the general population.

This text is a must for those wishing to develop genuine compassion and creativity in their practice, particularly when nursing vulnerable people.

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