How confident are nurses that they can provide good care?
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How confident are nurses that they can provide good care?

Malcolm Cooper Macmillan Palliative Care clinical nurse specialist, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust
Maureen Gambles Service innovation operational lead and senior research fellow, Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute, Liverpool
Stephen Mason Research and development lead, Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute, Liverpool
Tamsin McGlinchey Research assistant, Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute, Liverpool

Malcolm Cooper and colleagues assess whether staff in acute settings can care for adults with learning disabilities who are nearing the end of life

Aim The study assessed the confidence levels of registered nurses who care for patients with learning disabilities, including those with palliative care needs, in an acute hospital setting

Method A postal questionnaire was designed and distributed to elicit information on training, experience and confidence among nurses providing general and end of life care for people with learning disabilities.

Results Few study participants had been formally trained to care for people with learning disabilities, yet almost all expressed higher-than-expected levels of confidence in all areas of care. There was some variation in results, particularly in relation to psychosocial and spiritual needs.

Conclusion The results suggest that while nurses in acute care have little training, informal structures have supported perceived professional development. As a result of the study, a programme of educational sessions for the nurses was launched, and relevant staff-information leaflets were designed and disseminated.

Learning Disability Practice. 17, 2, 34-39. doi: 10.7748/ldp2014.


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 22 September 2013

Accepted: 10 January 2014

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