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Karen Dickson Community learning disability nurse, East Lothian
Donna Paxton Community learning disability charge nurse, East Lothian
Karen McKenzie Chartered clinical psychologist, East Lothian

Karen Dickson and her colleagues uncover an important relationship between levels of staff training and diets among people with learning disabilities

Bowel problems can be common in people with learning disabilities. Paxton et al (2001) found that almost half (48 per cent) of the clients with Down syndrome who received a health screen had bowel problems. Indeed, an earlier study found that a similar proportion of clients with a learning disability who were screened took laxatives (Paxton and Taylor 1998). Bowel problems can be influenced by a number of factors. These include congenital abnormalities such as Hirsprung’s disease (Rogers 1998), food sensitivity and allergies (Oliver 1986), inadequate diet management and a lack of a structured toileting routine (Nabors and Morgan 1995, Smith 1990). For some individuals with associated physical disabilities, limited mobility can also be a factor in bowel problems.

Learning Disability Practice. 5, 2, 11-13. doi: 10.7748/ldp2002.

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