An Assessment of Pharmaceutical Care Needs of Service Users with Severe or Profound Intellectual Disabilities at St. Michael’s House North

Chin Nee Foo

Thesis – Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland Licence Examination

Keywords: Intellectual Disabilities • Leisure Participation • Supports • Independent Living

(30 Jul 2009)
Background Intellectual Disabilities (ID) is a lifelong condition which may require complex medical, physical, psychiatric and social care needs. People with severe or profound Ids are more prone than the rest of the population to multiple health problems including epilepsy, constipation, hypothyroidism, diabetes, heart disease, dysphagia, peptic ulcers, skin conditions, hearing loss and vision impairment. They may not be able to speak clearly and may communicate through signing. Some of the health problems are difficult to identify because the communication barriers affect the description of symptoms and discomfort. Many specialists are involved in the delivery of special treatments and supports to this population. Nonetheless, detailed information about pharmaceutical care needs of this population is still lacking in Ireland. St. Michael’s House is one of Ireland’s largest voluntary organisations providing support and healthcare to people with Ids. There is a wide range of services provided via this organisation. Nurses, social care workers and care assistants at St. Michael’s House North play a role in providing constant care and identifying the needs of individuals with Ids, hence, views and knowledge of these care staff are worth investigating.

Aims: This research was conducted with the aim of assessing the pharmaceutical care needs of people with severe or profound Ids and alerting modern pharmacists and voluntary organisations to these needs.

Methods: Research approval was acquired from Research Ethics Committee and service manager of St. Michael’s House North, 23 nursing staff, 9 social workers, and 8 care assistants, who work closely with pharmaceutical care being obtained by service users with profound Ids at St. Michael’s House North. Analysis of results was carried out using the programme Microsoft Excel.

Results: The vast majority of respondents agreed that pharmacists lacked experience in communicating with service users with Ids and polypharmacy remained as one of the major issues. Many reported that enteral feeing guidelines required reinforcement and availability of a clinical pharmacist(s) at St. Michael’s House would be beneficial in terms of medication reviews.

Conclusions: The results demonstrate the fact that pharmaceutical care needs of service users with severe or profound Ids are not being met. Based on participant perspectives, recommendations are made concerning the issues that pharmacists need to be aware of.

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