• Barriers facing social workers undertaking direct work with children and young people with a learning disability who communicate using non-verbal methods

      Prynallt-Jones, Katherine A.; Carey, Malcolm; Doherty, Pauline; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2017-03-03)
      Abstract: This paper analyses data drawn from a small group of qualified social workers’ specialising in work with disabled children who communicate using non-verbal methods. While a number of studies have criticised social services for neglecting disabled children, this paper re-evaluates evidence from the standpoint of a small group of experienced practitioners. Three substantive themes are explored which include: problems faced by practitioner’s communicating with children and young people; barriers to direct work; and positive engagement or use of creative methods. Among other findings, the paper highlights the complexity of communication techniques when seeking to accommodate diverse service user and carer needs, as well as creative responses used by practitioners despite significant barriers that include limited available training, technology and financial resources. Despite policy initiatives and legal requirements emphasising the importance of direct work and participation with disabled children, the conclusion reiterates the narrow focus of current risk-averse social work around disability, as well a need for additional resources and training to improve relationships, communication and meaningful support for children and young people that meet basic legal requirements.
    • Making sense of complexity: a qualitative investigation into forensic learning disability nurses' interpretation of the contribution of personal history to offending behaviour

      Skellern, Joanne; Lovell, Andrew; University of Chester; University of Derby
      Background: There is growing recognition that an individual’s personal history can be extremely influential in shaping his/her future experience, though there has been limited exploration in the context of learning disability and offending behaviour. Method: Research questions related to participant interpretation of offending behaviour and individual and service responses. A series of focus groups comprising learning disability forensic nurses were conducted across all secure settings, high, medium and low. Results: Three themes were produced: interpreting offending behaviour; the impact of personal history; responding therapeutically. The difficulties relating to understanding the relationship between offending behaviour and personal history significantly informed the construction of the most effective therapeutic relationships. Conclusions: An increased focus on the impact of someone’s background might inform nursing as it seeks to deliver care to individuals with increasingly complex needs in a time of service transition.
    • Working with people with learning disabilities in varying degrees of security: nurses' perceptions of competencies

      Lovell, Andy; Bailey, Jan; Kingdon, Anne; Gentile, Domenica; University of Chester (Wiley, 2014-02-07)
      This article reports on a three year study conducted into the competencies qualified nurses working with people with learning disabilities and a background of offending behaviour within a range of secure settings (community, low, medium and high), perceived as being crucial to their role. A qualitative approach was taken and data were collected via a series of focus groups and individual interviews. Focus groups were initially conducted in each setting to inform the construction of a semi-structured interview schedule. Thirty-nine interviews were subsequently undertaken with nurses from each setting to develop a fuller understanding of the competencies identified from the focus groups and ascertain if these were influenced by the specific setting which the nurses worked. Data were analysed using qualitative thematic analysis and four competencies encompassing the skills and knowledge nurses perceive as essential to their role emerged: knowledge assimilation and application; team working; communication skills; and decision making. The secure setting influenced how the competencies were manifest in nurses’ practice and experience and practise emerged as crucial variables in how effectively they were applied. Recommendations for application of the research findings in nurse education and further research are made.