Dealing with the Developmentally Disabled

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Reply Wed 30 Mar, 2005 05:40 pm
Dealing with the Developmentally Disabled
I have a few questions for anyone on here who may be willing to answer.

I work with the Developmentally Disabled population and my agency is sending me to school for Social Services studies. We were researching a project last week and I was a bit curious to get some other opinions on the matter.

The topic of discussion was the increased life expectancy of the developmentally disabled population & the effect it has on everyone that cares for them.

If you answer any of my questions, please do not be concerned about hurting my feelings. I just would like honest answers.

1) One of the articles that we read was relating to nurses in Pennsylvania complaining that they do not have the educational background to deal with some of the behavioral characteristics of these people and (in an office setting) that their other patients do not have the patience to deal with these individuals in a waiting room.

A) How do any of you feel about this situation if you have ever had to encounter it?
B) Do you feel that when going through nursing school that they focus on the behavioral characteristics of these individuals and how to care for them?
C) Do you feel that the staff that accompanies them are as knowledgeable on their ailments and behavioral conditions as per say their guardians?
D) Do you feel that with the increased life expectancy of these individuals that your jobs as nurses will in the future become more difficult as you will have to deal with the norm aging conditions on top of the existing conditions that this group of people already have (thyroidism, skin conditions, lack of mental stability)

I was just curious.
Thank you for your time. Much appreciated.
 
Lynn H
 
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2005 02:36 am
My answers.
A) How do any of you feel about this situation if you have ever had to encounter it?

Mind you I am an LPN and we do Peds home care in 8-12 hour shifts. Most o four patients are dev delayed. It's par for the course.

B) Do you feel that when going through nursing school that they focus on the behavioral characteristics of these individuals and how to care for them?

Heck no, there was slim to NO instruction on this....in fact, one of my classmates was hired by my agency, came to orient and asked the mother how the patient became "retarted"! He was severely dev delayed dt prematurity. I dont think any of us were the least bit prepared for a situation like that. But there were a lot of things that we didnt know that could have only have been learned on the job.

C) Do you feel that the staff that accompanies them are as knowledgeable on their ailments and behavioral conditions as per say their guardians?

Yes and sometimes more knowledgeable as they are their caregivers on a daily basis and often since discharge from the hospital. It really depends tho on the duration of care and how involved the guardians are. There is often denial and post traumatic stress disorder going around with these patients caregivers. I'd have to say its different patient to patient and depends on a lot of factors.

D) Do you feel that with the increased life expectancy of these individuals that your jobs as nurses will in the future become more difficult as you will have to deal with the norm aging conditions on top of the existing conditions that this group of people already have (thyroidism, skin conditions, lack of mental stability)

I think that dealing with added persoanl hygiene issues, more meds, more medical approaches is the easy part of caring for the patient. I'll take medical issues over psychological/emotional issues any day of the week.

With all that said, I learned more from PT, ST, and developmental therapists than anyone. As nurses we tend to take care of daily physical needs such as bathing etc but if we have the tools to add the developmental therapy component to our care I think it really benefits the patient.
 
 

 
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