A focus group inquiry into the perceptions of primary health care teams and the provision of health care for adults with a learning disability living in the community


  • Cynthia Thornton MSc RGN DNCert PGCEA

    1. Lecturer in Community Health Studies, The University of Reading, Bulmershe Court, Earley, Reading RG6 1HY, England
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This study addresses the primary health needs of adults with learning disabilities living in the community Policies specific to this client group and incorporating the ideology of normalization are noted and evidence of their implementation is sought Previous research suggests that the adoption of a social rehabilitative model of care may have resulted in the neglect of health care needs The recent closure of a local, subnormality hospital provided a critical situation and context for the study The research question is, how do primary health care teams perceive the needs of adults with learning disabilities living in the community, and are they meeting their needs' Three primary health care teams formed the sample and data were obtained through semi-structured, focus group interviews A conceptual framework developed early in the study influenced both the interview guide and the data analysis The study suggests that practitioners working within primary health care teams have a limited awareness of the health care needs of adults with learning disabilities Contributing factors were identified and include negative attitudes towards the concept of normalization, inadequate education, a shortfall in financial and human resources, and poor collaboration with the specialist team