Protection Of Vulnerable Adults With Learning Disabilities

In recent years, there has been growing recognition that adults with learning disabilities, and those who have a mental illness or who are old and frail, need protection from potentially abusive situations over which they may have little control. In light of this, following on from the consultation publication of No Secrets (Department of Health 2000), the 'Protection of Vulnerable Adults Scheme in England and Wales for Care Homes and Domiciliary Care Agencies' was implemented by the Department...

Classification Of Seizures

All classifications are based on the international classification of seizures (Dreifuss 1989). GENERALISED SEIZURES Tonic-clonic (previously known as 'grand mal') The person becomes rigid, and may fall if standing. The muscles relax and then tighten rhythmically, causing the person to convulse. The breathing becomes laboured and the person may also become incontinent. There is a brief period of unconsciousness and, on waking, the person may be tired and confused and have a headache. 98 PEOPLE...

Psychotropic Medication

The most prevalent form of intervention remains medication psychiatric drugs are used in the treatment of all forms of mental illness and there is a strong evidence base to support its appropriate use (Gates 2003 Hardy & Bouras 2002 Pilgrim 2005). There is also evidence to support the use of these drugs for behaviour problems that are not necessarily connected to a mental health problem with people with learning disabilities (Crabbe 1994). For this reason, it is virtually unheard of for a...

Skin Conditions

Atopic dermatitis is the presence of red, scaly, itchy skin. It is most likely to appear on the cheeks, behind the ears, behind the knees and in the elbow creases. Treatment is with steroid creams and oral antihistamines. This is an irritating condition, which needs to be managed by carers to prevent pain and discomfort for those individuals affected. Seborrhea is a similar condition, but usually greasy and scaly, and appearing on the scalp and eyebrows. Dandruff shampoos or shampoos with...

Concluding Comments On Challenging Behaviour

When dealing with challenging behaviour, it is important to recognise the range of behaviours which challenge services, and the effect that these behaviours have on both adults with learning disabilities and those who support them. Bear in mind that behaviours have causes, many of which are identifiable and many of which are related to either the needs of adults with learning disabilities or their inability to communicate these needs effectively. Careful and comprehensive assessment of the...

Antiepileptic Drugs

Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) are the preference for the treatment of epilepsy. These AEDs will control seizures for most people with epilepsy, but there will be a minority of people for whom these AEDs are less effective. AEDs are effective in stabilising the electrical brain activity that causes seizures, particularly if the cause is idiopathic. AEDs do not provide a cure for epilepsy, but enable the majority of people to live without the fear of having seizures. As a student or carer of an...

Verbal And Nonverbal Communication

The importance of verbal and non-verbal communication will be explored here. There will also be an explanation of language. However, the emphasis within this section will be with regard to non-verbal communication and adults with significant disabilities, i.e. the importance of 'levelling' when working with adults who use wheelchairs and listening (observationally) with the eyes as well as the ears. This is often referred to as 'active listening' (Thompson 2003). This section aims to highlight...

Contributors

Frank Garvey, RNMH, RGN, RNT, BA (Hons), Cert Ed, Cert Health Ed Frank has worked in the fields of learning disability and general nursing for 25 years. Within that time he has been a charge nurse a respite care home manager for children with complex medical needs and learning disabilities a community learning disabilities nurse and a university senior lecturer involved in the education of nurses and social workers. He is particularly interested in the physical healthcare of people with...

Attitudinal Barriers

Adults with learning disabilities are a marginalised group within society, and, unfortunately, this is reflected in attitudes expressed by professional health and social care staff. Shanley and Guest (1995) highlighted that adults with learning disabilities are stigmatised by adult nurses. Slevin and Sines (1996) reported that adult nurses showed an unenthusiastic attitude towards people with learning disabilities. This may be explained, in part, by their lack of exposure to adults with...

The Legal Framework For Protecting Vulnerable Adults

The regulations relating to the ill-treatment of vulnerable adults with learning disabilities are often complex and not always easy to understand. However, laws are in place which can be used either to protect vulnerable adults or to act on their behalf if a crime or offence has been committed against them. It does require carers, students and professionals to have some knowledge of the law and knowledge of whom to contact for further assistance. If a criminal offence is suspected, it should...

Thyroid Disorders

Thyroid dysfunction is common in adults with Down's syndrome, with a steady decline in thyroid function increasing with age. Both hypo- and hyper-thyroidism can occur in adults with Down's syndrome, although hypothyroid-ism is much more common and often caused through an autoimmune process whereby the immunological defence system targets its own body tissues and organs. Hypothyroidism is caused by a deficiency of thyroxine - a naturally occurring hormone, secreted by the thyroid gland. It is...

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Almost all of the conditions that affect the bones and joints of adults with Down's syndrome arise from the abnormal collagen found in adults with Down's syndrome. Collagen is the major protein that makes up ligaments, tendons, cartilage, bone and the support structure of the skin. One type of collagen type VI is encoded by a gene found on the 21st chromosome. The effect in adults with Down's syndrome is increased laxity, or looseness, of the ligaments that attach bone to bone and muscle to...

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995

Imagine a world in which the bar staff in a pub shouted 'I don't want your kind in here' as soon as you walked through the door, in which your local cinema barred you because you were a 'health hazard' and large stores turned you away because 'seeing you would upset their regular customers'. Now imagine that there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. You cannot retort 'I know my rights' because you don't have any. You cannot take legal action because no offence has been committed. There...