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      The barriers to and enablers of providing reasonably adjusted health services to people with intellectual disabilities in acute hospitals: evidence from a mixed-methods study

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          Abstract

          Objective

          To identify the factors that promote and compromise the implementation of reasonably adjusted healthcare services for patients with intellectual disabilities in acute National Health Service (NHS) hospitals.

          Design

          A mixed-methods study involving interviews, questionnaires and participant observation (July 2011–March 2013).

          Setting

          Six acute NHS hospital trusts in England.

          Methods

          Reasonable adjustments for people with intellectual disabilities were identified through the literature. Data were collected on implementation and staff understanding of these adjustments.

          Results

          Data collected included staff questionnaires (n=990), staff interviews (n=68), interviews with adults with intellectual disabilities (n=33), questionnaires (n=88) and interviews (n=37) with carers of patients with intellectual disabilities, and expert panel discussions (n=42). Hospital strategies that supported implementation of reasonable adjustments did not reliably translate into consistent provision of such adjustments. Good practice often depended on the knowledge, understanding and flexibility of individual staff and teams, leading to the delivery of reasonable adjustments being haphazard throughout the organisation. Major barriers included: lack of effective systems for identifying and flagging patients with intellectual disabilities, lack of staff understanding of the reasonable adjustments that may be needed, lack of clear lines of responsibility and accountability for implementing reasonable adjustments, and lack of allocation of additional funding and resources. Key enablers were the Intellectual Disability Liaison Nurse and the ward manager.

          Conclusions

          The evidence suggests that ward culture, staff attitudes and staff knowledge are crucial in ensuring that hospital services are accessible to vulnerable patients. The authors suggest that flagging the need for specific reasonable adjustments, rather than the vulnerable condition itself, may address some of the barriers. Further research is recommended that describes and quantifies the most frequently needed reasonable adjustments within the hospital pathways of vulnerable patient groups, and the most effective organisational infrastructure required to guarantee their use, together with resource implications.

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          Most cited references 1

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          Meeting the needs of patients with learning disabilities.

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            Author and article information

            Journal
            BMJ Open
            BMJ Open
            bmjopen
            bmjopen
            BMJ Open
            BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
            2044-6055
            2014
            16 April 2014
            : 4
            : 4
            Affiliations
            [1 ]Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, St George's University of London and Kingston University , London, UK
            [2 ]Division of Population Health Sciences and Education, St George's, University of London , London, UK
            [3 ]Institute of Leadership and Management in Health, Kingston University Business School , Kingston, UK
            Author notes
            [Correspondence to ] Dr Irene Tuffrey-Wijne; I.Tuffrey-Wijne@ 123456sgul.kingston.ac.uk
            Article
            bmjopen-2013-004606
            10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004606
            3996812
            24740978
            Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions

            This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

            Product
            Categories
            Health Services Research
            Research
            1506
            1704
            1722

            Medicine

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