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Health checks for people with learning disabilities: implications for social care practice

Purpose

To provide the DH with a scoping review of the implications for social care practice of the implementation of health checks for people with learning disabilities. Such health checks are being undertaken in light of evidence that the health needs of people with learning disabilities have not always been recognised or met and that this has had a negative effect on their health and wellbeing. 

Research team

Jill Manthorpe
Stephen Martineau

Funding

Department of Health

Background

The implementation of the policy of an offer of health checks to people with learning disabilities potentially affects practitioners in social care, who may be providing support for such individuals. They may need to communicate the reason for such checks, may be asked to accompany them to appointments, and may be expected to support health promotion and advice. This scoping study sought to identify if health-related literature had addressed the implications for social care: and if social care literature had yet engaged with the potential practice challenges and opportunities. The scoping review found little evidence in either respect.

Methods

A scoping review was conducted, supplemented by an internet search for practice.

Findings

The review found little literature relevant to social care practice and recommended consideration of the possible roles of social care staff in: initiating health checks; involvement in decision making; recording and implementing recommendations; acting as escorts, chaperones and facilitators of communication; and the possible extension of regulatory scrutiny of their participation in this activity.

Timetable

2009 - 2010

Output

A report was sent to the Department of Health and was published as: 

Manthorpe, J. & Martineau, S., (2010), 'Followers or leaders? What is the role for social care practitioners in annual health checks for adults with learning disabilities?', Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 14(1): 53-66.

Impact

This study remains one of the few considering this subject and so provides evidence for this uncharted area.

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