Nurse Stephen Lawson created a digital platform that helps practitioners care for people with learning disabilities.

Stephen Lawson

Stephen, managing director of United Kingdom Supported Living Services, conceived, developed and implemented a digital platform that enables practitioners remotely to analyse trends in behaviour and ensure clients are responded to appropriately.

It records all inputs in the individual's life to produce information that can be used to improve patient care.

‘I could see how so much data was lost,’ says Stephen, ‘and for some people with learning disabilities including those who are non-verbal, the story of their life is the data. To develop care plans we need to know that story.’

Staff log in at the beginning of their shift and all data are recorded. Patterns and trends in the individual’s behaviour are picked up and advice and support given to staff in real time to help them de-escalate and avoid challenging behaviour. For example, the platform would pick up that an individual was always upset after having a telephone conversation with his mother. This observation would allow strategies to be developed to deal with the situation.

Stephen Lawson

The platform is highly responsive. Stephen says: ‘If an incident comes in we can change the risk assessment immediately.

‘The initiative was clinically rather than operationally driven. We wanted it to be able to filter out inappropriate staff and identify the best staff for the patient. If someone uses an inappropriate word, we can call them and put in place training.’

The platform has been recognised by the Care Quality Commission and has saved the care provider £250,000. This has been reinvested in training and staff salaries, improving morale and retention.

Stephen is delighted to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award. He says: ‘As a registered nurse in learning disabilities, a branch of nursing associated with innovation, I believe the value of finding new ways of achieving more with less will ensure the individuals we support continue to receive person-centred support.

‘New technology is already here and its use in health care will only increase. Nurses should drive the agenda for its introduction rather than follow it. We have been at the forefront in ensuring patients’ needs come first, and that should continue with the development of new technological answers to difficult questions.’

Stephen is a finalist in the learning disabilities category of the RCNi Nurse Awards 2016, the profession’s top accolade for nursing excellence.

The award, sponsored by Cambian, is for nursing staff who have developed initiatives to support the wellbeing and social inclusion of people with learning disabilities to maintain physical and mental health.

Learning Disability Practice editor Colin Parish was on the award’s shortlisting panel. He says: ‘Learning disability nurses always go the extra mile for their service users – it’s in their blood.

‘But the candidates shortlisted for this year’s RCNi Nurse Awards have shown that even more can be done to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities, whose lives are often more challenging than necessary.

‘All of the shortlisted candidates have overcome obstacles and worked hard to try to even up the playing field and give their clients the best chance possible for a good, healthy life.’

About the sponsor


Cambian is one of the largest providers of specialist behavioural health services in learning disabilities, autism, mental health rehabilitation, education, acquired brain injury rehabilitation, impaired hearing and, more recently, children’s residential care, fostering and specialised services for children experiencing sexual trauma. Our passion focuses on positive outcomes for the individuals we provide support and services to. Our nurses are critical in their delivery of care and support to ensure these outcomes can be achieved resulting in the highest possible quality of life.