A study on the care of people with Intellectual Disabilities in general hospitals in Ireland.
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The current study examined the care of people with intellectual disabilities in general hospitals in Ireland. Participants of the study were purposefully selected to reflect the aim of the study. The aim of the study was to provide an insight into the care of people with intellectual disabilities in general hospitals, from an advocacy and service-user perspective. The sample compiled of two professionals in the disability sector, two family members and two people with an intellectual disability (ID). The study was important because it established an optimal model of hospital care in general settings for people with ID. Data collected contributed to the wider understanding of the challenges that may be encountered by a person with an ID and of the conditions for success to positive experiences in local hospitals. Literature reviewed on the subject area suggested that there was little research on the personal experiences of people with intellectual disabilities of care received in Irish general hospitals. The literature review outlined a synopsis of relevant policy and procedure applicable to people with intellectual disabilities in Australia, United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland. The implications of the Mencap report on ‘Death by indifference’ was examined in the context of its influence on service provision in general hospital settings in the UK since its publication in 2007. The study employed a qualitative approach in the format of interviews. Six participants took part in the study; carers, family members and people with intellectual disabilities. All participants had an experience in the past of care of people with intellectual disabilities in general hospitals, either from a service-user or advocate perspective. A summary of the findings were: effective communication between medical staff and service-users was identified as an important feature of a positive hospital experience, conflicts of interest between care staff and hospital staff occurred over issues about discharge of patients and the lack of training on disability observed in hospital staff practices, positive experiences in hospital were reported to be occurring where careful considerations have been implemented in the provision of care, and people with intellectual disabilities benefited from special accommodations such as the tailoring of appointments and procedures to meet the individual needs of the person with ID. Recommendations were made in relation to the actions required to achieve an optimal model of care, the introduction of specialised training to enhance the confidence and competency of hospital staff, and the benefit of conducting future studies to include the views of medical staff.
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