A survey of consultant psychiatrists in intellectual disability based in England

GUINN Ashley, et al
Journal article citation:
Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 10(4), 2016, pp.258-270.

Purpose: Community mental health services are of increasing importance for people with an intellectual disability (ID), as the government aims to reduce the number of people treated within inpatient services. However, due to limited evidence base, it is unclear which service models are most effective for treating people with both ID and a mental health condition. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to carry out a survey in order to gain a better understanding of the current state of ID community services. Design/methodology/approach The survey was e-mailed to 310 consultant psychiatrists based in England and whose main specialism was in ID. In total, 65 consultants responded to the survey with 53 complete data sets. Findings: In total, 84 per cent of consultants identified themselves as working in a generic community ID team. The majority of services were not integrated with social care (71 per cent). Regional differences were found. In contrast to the rest of England, the majority of services in London were integrated with social care. The Health of the Nation Outcome Scale for people with Learning Disabilities (HoNOS-LD) was found to be the most common outcome measure used by services. A range of interventions are widely available across services including psychological therapies and specialist memory assessments. The survey also provides evidence for increased decommissioning of specialist inpatient units and a need for more robust community services. Research limitations/implications: Findings limited by low return rate (21 per cent) and because responses could not be matched to specific services. The implications of this survey are that there is still a variable level of integration with social care and that lack of integration could affect the quality of service. While HoNOS-LD is used consistently across services, there may be a need to supplement it with other outcome measures. There is a need for larger scale and higher quality studies in this area to strengthen the evidence base and therefore demonstrate the benefits of integration and specialisation more convincingly to health professionals and commissioners. Originality/value: This survey presents an overview of the current state of community services for adults with ID in England. This information can be harnessed to add to revised approaches to mental health service models for people with ID. (Publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
surveys, learning disabilities, community mental health services, mental health problems, social care, outcomes, intervention;
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