Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

New app enables carers to provide person-centred support for people with learning disabilities

A new app designed to assist carers and improve outcomes for people with learning disabilities has been launched this week.

The PBAS app combines the principles of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) and Active Support to empower the care and education of people with learning disabilities.

The app allows carers to plan activities, daily tasks and personal routine based on the needs of the individual and the Active Support and PBS frameworks.

Records stored digitally, reducing paperwork

Kathy McLennan, PBAS facilitator for Special Needs Care Ltd, explains how the app can be used in practice. She said: “The PBAS app brings solutions to some of the problems that can hold up implementation of Active Support and PBS. Activity planning and participation for both recurring and one-off activities can be done in just a few easy steps.

“All inputted data is translated into graphs and charts in real time, allowing for timely analysis and decision making. Crucially, the app removes the problem of mountains of paperwork which can often be overlooked or misplaced.”

Other key features of the app include include:

  • Personal scripts and household customs management
  • Dropdown menus that simplify goal setting
  • Touchscreen recording to monitor progress against learning outcomes
  • Rapid automated assessment of behaviour likely to pose a challenge
  • Graphs, charts and multi-media ‘wow moments’ to provide valuable feedback.

Enabling people with learning disabilities to live “more enriched lives”

During its four-year development, the app has been utilised and reviewed by various service providers, support teams and their managers.

These users reported a significant streamlining of workloads, higher levels of staff engagement and an improved quality of life.

The app also enables carers to spend more time with the people they support, increasing job satisfaction and therefore lowering staff turnover. Furthermore, since all the records are kept in one place, there are fewer errors and unsafe practices.

The app also reduces the need for paper-based systems, and generates records and reports for external inspection bodies such as the Care Quality Commission.

But the app not only benefits care staff, but also people with learning disabilities themselves. Since using the app, Sarah, for example, now enjoys “far more ordinary life opportunities”.

A testimony from a carer explains that Sarah now has “far fewer distressing behaviours and shorter and less intense episodes”, and has now been weened off her antipsychotic medication.

Similarly, Mary, who spent five years reluctant to leave her home, now regularly enjoys going out on walks, taking trips to the theatre and socialising with friends, as a result of using the PBAS app.

Andrew Guy, PBS team leader at Gwynedd Adults Learning Disabilities Team Service, says since using the PBAS app, the people he supports are “living more enriched lives and participating in all sorts of activities”.

“The data collected has evidenced an increase in activity and a reduction in behaviours of concern, which has had an improvement in quality of life for everyone,” he said.

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