SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • admissions;
  • behaviour;
  • learning disabilities;
  • mental health

This study describes the evaluation of an assessment and treatment unit for people with learning disabilities. Results showed the main reasons for admission for the 48 people admitted to the unit were because of challenging behaviours and mental health problems. Valid and reliable scales were used to measure the behaviours and mental health problems of those admitted across three-time periods: pre-admission, during admission and post-admission. The analysis found significant reductions in challenging behaviours and mental health problems following admission to the unit. The unit was staffed by a multidisciplinary team with nurses making up the largest group of staff. A number of issues of concern are discussed including access to mental health services for people with learning disabilities, the need for robust community services and areas that require further research. In conclusion, the study found evidence supporting the value of the unit and how it may lessen distress in learning disabled people who are behaviourally disturbed. It is suggested that nurses played a key role in the unit but they need to make the support and caring they provide more visible. Nurses need to harness and make explicit the caring they provide for people with learning disabilities.