An earlier study of health and social services professionals in community teams for people with intellectual disabilities (CTIDs) identified a number of significant gaps in their knowledge of mental capacity issues. The present study aims to ascertain the knowledge of staff working in residential services for people with intellectual disabilities.
Participants were staff working in three specialist residential settings catering to people with intellectual disabilities: qualified nurses working in the UK National Health Service (NHS) and in independent‐sector continuing health care settings; and senior staff in residential houses. They were administered the same structured interview as in the earlier study, which was constructed around three scenarios concerning a financial/legal issue, a health issue, and a relationships issue, as well as a set of ten “true/false” statements. Their performance was compared with that of two reference groups, the earlier CTID participants, and a group of staff working in generic (i.e. other than specialist intellectual disability) NHS services.
No differences in interview performance were found between the three groups of residential carers, who performed better than generic NHS staff but worse than CTID professionals. However, the three residential groups did differ in their self‐ratings of how well‐informed and confident they felt in relation to mental capacity issues.
The study shows that staff working in residential services for people with intellectual disabilities have only a limited understanding of mental capacity issues and their confidence in their own knowledge may not be a good guide to their ability to deal with such issues when they arise in practice.
Willner, P., Bridle, J., Price, V., John, E. and Hunt, S. (2012), "Knowledge of mental capacity issues in residential services for people with intellectual disabilities", Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 33-40. https://doi.org/10.1108/20441281211198844Download as .RIS
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