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Article
Publication date: 1 November 2018

Kunden Patel, Laura Roche, Nicola Coward, Jacqueline Meek and Celia Harding

The purpose of this paper is to present an evaluation of a programme of training and support provided to staff, which aimed to encourage supported communication…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present an evaluation of a programme of training and support provided to staff, which aimed to encourage supported communication environments for people with learning disabilities.

Design/methodology/approach

Training, monitoring and support for communication, specifically augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) strategies, was provided by speech and language therapy staff to two residential services over 46 weeks. Staff and service user communications were observed pre- and post-intervention.

Findings

In one provision there was an increase in service user initiations and the use of some AAC strategies by support staff. In the other provision there was no change in service user initiations and a decrease in the range of AAC strategies used. It appears that some forms for AAC remain challenging for staff to implement.

Originality/value

This evaluation explores ways of using specialist support services to improve communication environments for people with learning difficulties. Possible reasons for differences in the outcome of the intervention are discussed. Future research into the types of communication interactions experienced by people with learning disabilities across the range of communication styles may be useful so that support staff can be better helped to provide sustained and enriched communication environments.

Details

Tizard Learning Disability Review, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-5474

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Article
Publication date: 9 September 2013

Nicola Bethel and Nigel Beail

There continues to be a small group of people who have intellectual disabilities who need some form of restraint in their support plan due to their self-injurious…

Abstract

Purpose

There continues to be a small group of people who have intellectual disabilities who need some form of restraint in their support plan due to their self-injurious behaviour. The mechanical restraint restricts their freedom of movement to help prevent injury. Despite the growing literature on the use of such devices, there is very limited literature looking at the impact the use of mechanical restraints has upon service users and support staff using them. The aim of this study was to ascertain the experiences of support staff who apply the restraints to the people they support.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative methodology was utilised. A semi-structured interview was conducted with nine support workers who: directly worked with a client with intellectual disabilities who engage in self-injurious behaviours; followed positive behavioural support plans developed with a multi-disciplinary team; applied restraints as a response to severe self-injurious behaviours to prevent harm; and they had to have been directly involved in the application and removal of the mechanical restraints in the last week. Content analysis utilising emergent coding was used to analyse the data.

Findings

All participants described using mechanical restraints as having a negative impact upon them. Participants said they manage the negative impact by reframing, inhibiting their emotions, following support plans closely and gaining support from other staff. Participants described concerns and unmet needs regarding whether they were applying the restraints correctly, the responsibility of teaching others to use restraints, not feeling prepared on starting their current job and that the impact/concerns of using restraints is not talked about. Recommendations for practice are made.

Originality/value

This is the first study to explore the views of care staff who are required to use mechanical restraint. It provides insight on the impact of this on them.

Details

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, vol. 7 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-1282

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Book part
Publication date: 3 February 2015

M. Alexandra Da Fonte and Andrea M. Capizzi

Teachers play a vital role in the structure of their classrooms. Part of this structure is having a clear understanding of the importance of not only supporting their…

Abstract

Teachers play a vital role in the structure of their classrooms. Part of this structure is having a clear understanding of the importance of not only supporting their students, but also the teacher assistants/support staff with whom they collaborate. Providing teacher assistants/support staff with guidance, information on student needs and classroom structures, team-building strategies, training, and supervision sets the stage for a positive climate for collaboration, teamwork, and learning. Consequently, teachers should be proactive and diligent to ensure high-quality training and supervision for teacher assistants/support staff, as this will have a direct impact on the services and learning opportunities being provided to the students.

Details

Working with Teaching Assistants and Other Support Staff for Inclusive Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-611-9

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Article
Publication date: 16 July 2009

John Rose

This paper introduces some of the research that has been conducted into staff stress in learning disability services. It also examines how some individual characteristics…

Abstract

This paper introduces some of the research that has been conducted into staff stress in learning disability services. It also examines how some individual characteristics of service users, particularly challenging behaviour and mental health problems, may influence the levels of staff stress reported. Service changes as a result of the development of supported living are also considered briefly. Some suggestions are made as to how these changes might influence staff. The importance of new research investigating these developments from a staff perspective is highlighted.

Details

Advances in Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, vol. 3 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-0180

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Article
Publication date: 9 February 2018

Sarah Cooper and Andy Colin Inett

Staff working in forensic inpatient settings are at increased risk of harm perpetrated by patients. Support offered in response to such incidents can have a significant…

Abstract

Purpose

Staff working in forensic inpatient settings are at increased risk of harm perpetrated by patients. Support offered in response to such incidents can have a significant impact on how staff recover. The purpose of this paper is to explore how staff support procedures implemented in one low-secure forensic service impacted on staff recovery.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 11 members of staff who had direct patient contact volunteered from an opportunity sample. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with each participant, asking about experiences of abuse at work and subsequent staff support procedures. Interviews were analysed using thematic analysis.

Findings

Four overarching themes were identified; experiences of harm, supported recovery, missed opportunities and therapeutic relationships. This led to a better understanding of how staff coped with incidents of abuse at work and how support procedures impacted on their recovery.

Research limitations/implications

The service evaluation was limited by transferability of the findings. The process of sampling may have meant there were biases in those who volunteered to take part. Further projects such as this are required to develop the themes identified.

Practical implications

Findings led to the development of a new integrated model of staff support.

Originality/value

This was one of the first studies in the UK to formally evaluate a staff support procedure in forensic low-secure services and include experiences of both clinical and non-clinical staff who are regularly exposed to potentially harmful events.

Details

Journal of Forensic Practice, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8794

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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

Helen Goulding and Sharon A. Riordan

The purpose of this paper is to explore the perceived needs of junior nurses working with women with learning disabilities in a secure setting who display violence and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the perceived needs of junior nurses working with women with learning disabilities in a secure setting who display violence and aggression; and to contribute to this specialised area of research and to identify potential areas for further post registration education.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopted a qualitative design using thematic analysis. Initial questionnaires were distributed and the results analysed in order to form initial themes. These initial themes were then used to carry out a one-off focus group and this was transcribed verbatim and then analysed using Braun and Clarke thematic analysis to develop final themes.

Findings

The findings identified a need for staff to be able to access effective immediate support following incidents of violence and aggression and support be offered within a clear structured environment. Staff indicated that peer supervision be made available and that they also receive adequate education relating to gender specific issues and the use of seclusion.

Research limitations/implications

The research had several limitations. These included a small sample size which was also largely self-selected. Bias may have to be acknowledged in respect of completion of questionnaires depending on their view of participation and what they might be contributing to. Despite this the results do raise further questions such as staff decision making around the use of seclusion.

Practical implications

Implications centred around the organisation’s delivery of education to staff in relation to the clinical decision-making skills they require in order to effectively support women with learning disabilities who display violent and/or aggressive behaviour. The study also has implications for potential supervision structures currently offered within these services.

Originality/value

This paper fulfils a need to explore services for women with a learning disability further and how services can be shaped using current perspective and up to date research in line with recent policy, e.g. Corston Report (Home Office, 2007).

Details

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8824

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2019

Áine Byrne, Jenna Pyne and Vanessa Sheehan

Lámh is the Irish approach to key word signing (KWS). It was designed to support children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) (including…

Abstract

Purpose

Lámh is the Irish approach to key word signing (KWS). It was designed to support children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) (including people with autism) and/or communication needs in Ireland. The purpose of this paper is to determine the level of Lámh use in a large organisation for children and adults with IDD and identify factors influencing use.

Design/methodology/approach

An online questionnaire was distributed to 950 staff members in the aforementioned organisation.

Findings

The response rate was 23 per cent (n = 217), with the majority of respondents indicating a belief that all staff should know some key signs (96 per cent) and that Lámh has a positive impact on communication (89 per cent). In sum, 18 per cent of staff who supported a Lámh user reported that they rarely or never use signs. There was a significant association between client group (children or adults) and frequency of Lámh use by staff, with greater use reported in children’s services.

Research limitations/implications

Overall, a positive attitude towards Lámh was identified amongst staff within the organisation. Despite this, there is evidence of inadequate support for Lámh users, particularly in adult services. Identified barriers which impacted the implementation of Lámh included inconsistencies in organisational culture, levels of support and access to training. A consistent Lámh signing environment is crucial to the successful use of Lámh as a communication method. This study suggests that the level of support required to create a consistent signing environment may be underestimated.

Originality/value

This is the first study to evaluate the reported use of key word sign in an Irish disability setting. The findings will be of benefit to any staff members supporting KWS users and, in particular, those involved in the provision of KWS training.

Details

Tizard Learning Disability Review, vol. 24 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-5474

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2008

Julie Beadle‐Brown, Aislinn Hutchinson and Beckie Whelton

Engagement in meaningful active and relationships is important for quality of life but, for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, engagement depends on…

Abstract

Engagement in meaningful active and relationships is important for quality of life but, for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, engagement depends on the quality of support received from those around them. This paper describes the process of implementing person‐centred active support in the Avenues Trust, and the findings from the evaluation of the implementation in six pilot residential services. Attention was paid both to training staff and to the motivational structures within the organisation. Both the quality of support provided by staff and the level of engagement increased significantly after the introduction of person‐centred active support. In addition, people experienced decreased self‐stimulatory and injurious behaviour, increased opportunities for choice and control, and higher levels of participation in tasks of daily living, without compromising their community involvement. Staff experienced more and better practice leadership, and staff morale improved within the services, with staff generally more positive about management, more satisfied and less likely to leave. Lessons learnt about the implementation are provided.

Details

Tizard Learning Disability Review, vol. 13 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-5474

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2006

Junelle Rhodes and David Hamilton

This paper provides reflections on the implementation of an active support staff training programme for staff working in community residential facilities for adults with…

Abstract

This paper provides reflections on the implementation of an active support staff training programme for staff working in community residential facilities for adults with an intellectual disability. Outcomes for the people with an intellectual disability were consistent with recent research findings indicating that active support can lead to improved opportunities for participation in everyday activities within the home. We propose that the success of the training programme was largely influenced by three key elements: ensuring that there is expertise in, and support for, this approach to service provision among key service managers, provision of in vivo one‐to‐one practical staff training in addition to classroom‐based theoretical input, and inclusion of elements of person‐centred planning approaches in combination with active support. Future research should focus on how best to maximise the effectiveness of active support staff training.

Details

Tizard Learning Disability Review, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-5474

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Article
Publication date: 17 October 2017

Kara Danks and Alexandria Bradley

The purpose of this paper is to explore the perspectives of prisoners and prison staff in relation to mental wellbeing and the negotiation of barriers to accessing and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the perspectives of prisoners and prison staff in relation to mental wellbeing and the negotiation of barriers to accessing and providing support. This small-scale study includes the experiences of 11 prison staff and 9 prisoners within a Category D male prison.

Design/methodology/approach

A focus group was conducted with the prisoners and interviews with prison staff. Thematic analysis identified three core themes: “context enabling factors”, “barriers to accessing support for mental wellbeing” and “peer support roles”.

Findings

Prisoners conveyed a reluctance in reporting mental health issues due to the fear of being transferred to closed conditions. All staff indicated the benefits of peer support roles.

Research limitations/implications

Further research is required on a wider scale, as it is acknowledged that the findings of this study are from one prison and may not apply to other settings. Although there are barriers that may impact the reporting of mental wellbeing issues, there may be small relational steps that can be taken to address these.

Originality/value

Few studies exist that explore the nuances and barriers within open prisons, perhaps due to the overwhelming need within closed conditions. A context-specific approach considering early prevention strategies to support a safer prison system and successful rehabilitation is explored. The combination of prisoner and staff experiences is of value to both academia and policymakers.

Details

Journal of Criminal Psychology, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2009-3829

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