Caring for mental health care users with profound intellectual disabilities: Approaches and opportunities

Grace Malapela, Faniswa Mfidi Mail, Sambulelwe Sibanda, Gloria Thupayagale-Tshweneagae

Abstract


Mental health care users with profound intellectual disabilities are among the most disadvantaged groups in society. They experience numerous challenges which include limitations in intellectual functioning and adaptive behaviour. These limitations present challenges in their care especially in cases where caregivers are not well prepared to cater for these special needs

The purpose of this study was to provide an insight into the experiences of student nurses on the approaches and opportunities related to the care of mental health care users with profound intellectual disabilities.

A qualitative, descriptive, interpretive, exploratory and contextual research was used to ascertain opportunities and approaches in caring for mental health care users with profound intellectual disabilities. Audio-taped interviews were conducted with 12 student nurses in their fourth and final year of study who were assigned to the care centre catering for people with profound intellectual disabilities. Thematic analysis as proposed by Burnard (1991) was used to analyse the collected qualitative data.

 

Three approaches to care emerged as promotion of health and wellbeing, training on communication skills and support for their dignity. One main opportunity to emerge was being caring and this was embedded on the principle of caring which defines a nurse.

Caring for care users with profound intellectual disabilities can be emotionally challenging. However, this study identified approaches and opportunities which when explored can assist the nurses to render quality patient care for these patients.

Keywords


care approaches, intellectual disability, mental health care users, student nurses

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.25159/2520-5293/3858

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