Experiences of healthcare professionals in cancer assessment and treatment for people with learning disabilities: a literature review
evidence and practice    

Experiences of healthcare professionals in cancer assessment and treatment for people with learning disabilities: a literature review

Sam Abdulla Lecturer, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland
Natasha A Spassiani Lecturer, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland

Why you should read this article
  • To be aware of the negative effect of staff attitudes and values on the delivery of cancer care to people with learning disabilities

  • To identify the need for improved training and education to enable staff to meet the needs of people with learning disabilities in accessing cancer assessment and treatment

  • To recognise the importance of assessing capacity and seeking informed consent in cancer care for people with learning disabilities

Cancer is a leading underlying cause of death among people with learning disabilities, who are less likely to receive screening tests for the disease than those without learning disabilities. This article details a literature review that was undertaken to explore the experiences of general healthcare professionals in cancer assessment and treatment for people with learning disabilities. Two broad themes were identified: capacity and consent; and workforce and systemic factors. Issues were identified in relation to staff attitudes and values, resilience, training and education, ineffective systems for tracking populations who may require additional support, and improper application of capacity and consent legislation. Further research is required to develop and enhance services and staff experiences, to improve cancer outcomes for this patient population.

Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2021.e1654

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

s.abdulla@napier.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Abdulla S, Spassiani NA (2021) Experiences of healthcare professionals in cancer assessment and treatment for people with learning disabilities: a literature review. Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2021.e1654

Published online: 25 January 2021

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