Eating and drinking in adults with learning disabilities: exploring the experiences of support workers
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background: There is scant research around the experiences of support workers supporting adults with learning disabilities with their eating and drinking. This study examines their experiences aiming to find common themes arising from the support provided, challenges faced and what helps them, how they feel about this aspect of their job and what would help them further. Method: Semi-structured interviews with 6 paid support workers employed in supported living. Results: Support workers saw their role in supporting their clients as extending beyond just physical support. Challenges arise from communication difficulties and practicalities following guidelines. They value the experience of colleagues and the input from health professionals. Themes around their feelings about the role include responsibility, lack of awareness of the role when starting, the relationship development with the client and the positive aspects for the clients. They feel they would benefit further from training around the swallow. Conclusions: Findings suggest support workers should be provided with more information about this aspect of their job when starting, and would benefit from training around the swallow. SLTs are ideally placed to be involved in this.
B.Sc.(Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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