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Direct care staff knowledge about medication for individuals with intellectual disabilities

Amanda Sawyer (Azrieli Adult Neurodevelopmental Centre, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada)
Johanna Lake (Azrieli Adult Neurodevelopmental Centre, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada)
Yona Lunsky (Azrieli Adult Neurodevelopmental Centre, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada)

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities

ISSN: 2044-1282

Article publication date: 29 May 2019

Issue publication date: 22 July 2019

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Abstract

Purpose

The majority of adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) are prescribed at least one, if not multiple medications, with psychotropic medications being the most commonly prescribed. Direct care staff play an important role in psychotropic medication administration and monitoring, yet little is known about their knowledge and comfort with medication. The paper aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

A 15-item survey, focusing on self-reported knowledge and comfort with psychotropic medication, was completed by 152 direct care staff employed at three agencies providing residential services for individuals with ID across Ontario.

Findings

In total, 62 per cent of staff respondents reported that psychotropic medications were among the top medications regularly taken by the individuals they support, with behaviour listed as the most commonly reported reason for taking this medication. The majority of staff reported monitoring medication, however, the frequency of monitoring varied considerably. Generally, staff reported feeling comfortable and knowledgeable about medication use, but, most reported a desire for additional medication training.

Originality/value

This is the first Canadian study to examine staff knowledge and comfort regarding medication use, and the first study to assess PRN (“as needed”) as well as regularly administered medications.

Keywords

Citation

Sawyer, A., Lake, J. and Lunsky, Y. (2019), "Direct care staff knowledge about medication for individuals with intellectual disabilities", Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Vol. 13 No. 3/4, pp. 144-151. https://doi.org/10.1108/AMHID-01-2019-0002

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited