"A practical example of an open disclosure process for people with intellectual disabilities in the Republic of Ireland." Written by Feabhra Mullally (SMH) & Deirdre Corbally (DCU)
Issued on September 27 2021
Literature pertaining to open disclosure predominantly refers to acute care settings; this is the case
in, for example, the UK, Republic of Ireland, Australia, Korea and the USA. There is, however, a
dearth of literature regarding open disclosure related to people with intellectual disabilities.
A practice example of open disclosure is presented here, following a serious adverse event in an
organisation supporting adults with intellectual disabilities. The aim of the process was to openly
disclose in a meaningful way to adults with significant intellectual disabilities and communication
difficulties. An apology pathway was developed by a multidisciplinary team based on individual
communication needs. A suite of resources was developed including easy read-picture agendas and
sign language to support increased understanding of the apology. Service users received the apology
first, followed by meetings with their families. This practice example has positive implications for
service providers for people with intellectual disabilities.