This paper reports the findings of a study into the management of change within a learning disability service in transition from medium to low security status. The relationship between the service culture and resistance to change was a key consideration. A focus group approach was utilized with eight professionals from a range of disciplines meeting on six separate occasions, and the data was subsequently subject to thematic analysis. The study findings revealed markedly different perceptions of the response of the staff team to the implementation of change, with three groups adopting markedly different identities and allegiances. A dynamic group, embracing change and showing initiative, a strategically resistant group, and a third group, the ‘toggle’, swaying towards one of the other two groups according to changing circumstances. The paper concludes that the toggle group were extremely influential with regard to the implementation of change, and may be of significance in analysis of strategies of resistance.
Lovell, Andy; Mason, Tom (Taylor & Francis, 2011-08)
Caring over time for a child/young adult with a learning disability requires that the family, and in particular the mother, negotiate their needs with services and professionals, and these negotiations are complicated further by significant behavioural issues in the children. This study reports on a series of interviews undertaken with mothers of children and young adults with learning disabilities and a history of challenging behaviours. The interviews were supplemented by documentary data from clinical and other notes in order to provide a more detailed view of the issues arising from caring over time. Detailed thematic analysis revealed five key themes demonstrating the cumulative effect of caring for someone with such complex needs, the centrality of that individual’s needs to the lives of those interviewed and the ongoing negotiation between family and professionals required in order for the former to work out how to continue caring both effectively and on their own terms. All the names of mothers and children are psuedonyms.
Lovell, Andy; Skellern, Joanne; Mason, Tom (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011-11-23)
The study explores the implications of a survey into the discrepancy between actual and reported incidents of violence, perpetrated by service users, within the learning disability division of one mental health NHS Trust. Violence within the NHS continues to constitute a significant issue, especially within mental health and learning disability services where incidence remains disproportionately high despite the context of zero tolerance. A whole-population survey of 411 nurses working within a variety of settings within the learning disability division of one mental health NHS Trust. A questionnaire was administered to learning disability nursing staff working in community, respite, residential, assessment and treatment and medium secure settings, yielding a response rate of approximately 40%. There were distinct differences in the levels of violence reported within specific specialist services along with variation between these areas according to clinical environment, years of experience and nursing band. The study does not support previous findings whereby unqualified nurses experienced more incidents of violence than qualified nurses. The situation was less clear, complicated by the interrelationship between years of nursing experience, nursing band and clinical environment. The conclusions suggest that the increased emphasis on reducing violent incidents has been fairly successful with staff reporting adequate preparation for responding to specific incidents and being well supported by colleagues, managers and the organisation. The differences between specific clinical environments, however, constituted a worrying finding with implications for skill mix and staff education. The study raises questions about the relationship between the qualified nurse and the individual with a learning disability in the context of violence and according to specific circumstances of care delivery. The relationship is clearly not a simple one, and this group of nurses’ understanding and expectations of tolerance requires further research; violence is clearly never acceptable, but these nurses appear reluctant to condemn and attribute culpability.
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