Developing a personalised tool to detect physical deterioration in adults with learning disabilities in community settings
evidence and practice    

Developing a personalised tool to detect physical deterioration in adults with learning disabilities in community settings

Arzu Anderson Learning disability nurse, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, England
Emma Douglass Senior lecturer in learning disabilities nursing, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, University of the West of England Bristol, Bristol, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To understand how physical health deterioration in people with learning disabilities is often missed

  • To improve your knowledge of the challenges involved in detecting deterioration in adults with learning disabilities

  • To familiarise yourself with the need for a personalised tool that detects physical deterioration

Opportunities to detect physical health deterioration early in people with learning disabilities are often missed, which can lead to suboptimal health outcomes including death. There are several challenges involved in detecting deterioration in adults with learning disabilities. One challenge is that tools such as the National Early Warning Score 2 (NEWS2) may not be suitable for this population. Another challenge is that those people who care for adults with learning disabilities in the community often do not have the skills, training, equipment and confidence to undertake physical observations and escalate any concerns to healthcare professionals in a timely manner. There is therefore a need for a personalised tool to detect and report physical deterioration in adults with learning disabilities in community settings. This article describes a project undertaken by a learning disability nursing student to develop such a tool.

Learning Disability Practice. doi: 10.7748/ldp.2021.e2134

Peer review

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

@LDnursingUWE

Correspondence

arzu.anderson@nhs.net

Conflict of interest

None declared

Anderson A, Douglass E (2021) Developing a personalised tool to detect physical deterioration in adults with learning disabilities in community settings. Learning Disability Practice. doi: 10.7748/ldp.2021.e2134

Acknowledgements This project was conducted by a learning disability nursing student (the first author of this article), under the supervision of a practice mentor and an academic supervisor (the second author of this article), for an ‘evidencing work-based learning’ final-year academic module. The module involved choosing an area of nursing, undertaking a literature review and planning a service improvement project while on a practice placement. The authors would like to thank the first author’s mentor, and the community nursing team at the first author’s placement, for their support of and contributions to this project

Published online: 25 March 2021

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