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Learning disability nurse: Job description

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Learning disability nurses support people with learning disabilities and their families, carers and friends. They help patients to maintain their health and wellbeing and to live their lives as fully and independently as possible.

This includes helping people with their daily activities, teaching them the skills to look after themselves or find work. They also support them in making decisions about going to college, going on holiday or carrying out leisure activities with friends.

Learning disability nurses draw up care plans and monitor the implementation of recommendations. Their work is carried out in multidisciplinary teams with other nurses and health and social welfare professionals.

As well as helping patients to stay healthy and making sure they get any medical care that they need, learning disability nurses also support their carers and families, helping them to take breaks when necessary.

Typical work activities

Learning disability nurses have the knowledge, skills, attitudes and abilities to work in partnership with people of all ages who have learning disabilities. They work with their patients families and carers, in order to help them to develop individually and fulfil their potential in all aspects of their lives, irrespective of their disabilities.

The work is mainly based in community or supported living settings and can be very varied. Tasks can include:

  • using expert communication skills to engage with vulnerable people;
  • interpreting and understanding behaviour and evidence-based outcomes to develop individual care packages;
  • coordinating healthcare reviews/care plans with other health and social welfare professionals, and completing appropriate paperwork;
  • organising home visits and attending GP clinic appointments to monitor and discuss progress with service users, their carers and their GP;
  • planning activities, social events and holidays with service users (in supported living settings);
  • liaising with hospital admissions staff to plan patients' care needs on admission and discharge (e.g. housing and medication);
  • advocating on behalf of people with learning disabilities and encouraging self-advocacy;
  • carrying out group work with service users and patients on issues such as problem-solving, anxiety management, healthy living and behaviour management;
  • supporting staff and carers in the community;
  • organising emergency admissions;
  • completing management plans and reports;
  • assisting with tests, evaluations and observations;
  • teaching students and/or training health and social care colleagues;
  • maintaining awareness of local community activities and opportunities;
  • supporting the agenda for equality and equal access to all community and public services;
  • campaigning to ensure better healthcare outcomes and services for people with learning disabilities.

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Written by AGCAS editors
June 2014

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