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

Online training can help nurses ensure a safe transition to adult health services

Online training resources are an effective way to ensure that registered nurses, and potentially other healthcare professionals, have the necessary knowledge to contribute effectively to transitions for young adults with learning disabilities into adult health services.

The study, published in Nurse Education in Practice, was part of a national study on the experience of transition from child to adult health services for young adults. The main study provided contemporary evidence to raise the awareness of registered nurses of the needs of young adults with learning disabilities to help ensure a safe, effective and person-centred transition.

There is growing evidence that for some young people with lifelong health conditions, the transition from child to adult healthcare can be challenging and problematic with issues that need to be addressed.

Yet despite this, health professionals, including registered nurses, do not appear to receive structured, targeted education regarding health transitions as part of their initial preparation or continuing professional development.

Increase in the population of young adults with intellectual disabilities

In the study, the online learning resource was developed and piloted with registered nurses involved in the transition from child to adult health services for young adults with intellectual disabilities and complex needs. Data collection involved an online survey and semi-structured interviews.

Twelve nurses from two Scottish NHS Boards completed the questionnaire and three participated in a follow-up interview. The findings suggest that the mode of on-line delivery and most of the content of the learning resource were both acceptable and accessible to Registered Nurses across a range of areas of nursing practice. The learning resource was further adapted in response to the participant data.

The authors said: “Medical advances have led to an increase in the population of young adults with intellectual disabilities, with over 90% of children born with complex health conditions now surviving into adulthood, many with complex neurological disorders. Therefore, many now require services that extend beyond child health provision, necessitating a “transition” into adult health care.”

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