Bridges Help Us to Cross the Boundaries Authors - Ní Riain and G. Bourke St.Michael's House

Issued on October 4 2019


Bridges Help Us to Cross the Boundaries

  1. Ní Riain1 and G. Bourke2

1St. Michael's House Intellectual Disability Services, Ireland; 2St. Michaels House, Ireland

Introduction: St. Michael's House Services (SMH), provide residential, respite, day and schools community services based across Dublin to over 1700 people with intellectual disability (ID). In 2017, a clinical nurse specialist (CNSp) hospital liaison nurse commenced with improving integration and coordination of care for service users accessing acute hospital care settings. This is an emerging role in Ireland for people with an ID.

Methods: Hospital admission for a person with ID can have challenges (communication difficulties, diagnostic overshadowing, fear and stress leading to behaviours that challenge). Records were maintained for all admissions, recording key information informing planning of support needs for service users.

Results: Due to complexity of need and ageing profile of people with ID, there has been a 40% increase in one year in the need to access acute hospital care, requiring a variety of additional supports. Acute hospital staff have a point of contact to liaise with. Service users have someone to explain information, procedures, and hospital jargon in language and format they can understand.

Implications: Appointing a nurse with qualifications and experience in both social and health care settings, reduces anxiety and fear for people with ID in unfamiliar settings. It informs future support needs planning, and we are developing safe, standardised pathways that support service users who are admitted to acute hospital settings, ensuring a timely discharge.

Keywords Liaison, Integration, Pathways, Adocacy