Square pegs in round holes
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Square pegs in round holes

Catherine Bernal Lecturer in learning disability, Canterbury Christ Church University College

Catherine Bernal claims that the time is right to expand the role of the learning disability nurse

Learning disability nurses, arguably, often feel like square pegs in round holes as neither the medical nor the social model of care is adopted exclusively as the basis for the profession (Kay et al 1995). The ideas outlined in this article arose from the author’s experience of an individual living in a residential home where support was supplied to a small group of clients with multiple and profound learning disabilities. Unique among them, this individual’s disabilities were caused by head injury in his teens. In many ways, his needs seemed different from his co-habitees but efforts to find a more appropriate placement for him failed. Most head injury services in the region catered only for less severely affected individuals and those few that did provide services for profound disability did not offer lifetime care. Consequently, it became clear to us as learning disability nurses (responding also to growing confidence within the profession) that it might prove possible to meet the needs of this client and others like him within existing services. This would require nurses to develop their practice but, after all, this would not be the first time that this had been thought possible (Richardson 1994). Furthermore, the author began to hear of other similarly affected individuals placed in learning disability services. Therefore, the time seemed ripe for an investigation into the ability of such provision to meet their needs.

Learning Disability Practice. 3, 4, 22-25. doi: 10.7748/ldp2000.

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