Survey finds worrying care practices for learning disability residents

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

A Learning Disability Survey, carried out by the Health and Social Care Information Centre in response to Winterbourne View, has revealed that large quantities of anti-psychotic drugs are being used on residents with learning disabilities residing in hospitals or specialist units.

Almost two thirds of residents are given anti-psychotic drugs on a regular basis rather than on an ‘as and when required’ basis.  Such drugs are only meant to be used when required.  However, only 4.8% of those surveyed were given them in this way.

The survey also revealed that over a third of residents are subject to hands-on restraint practices and many do not have appropriate care plans in place to plan and support their discharge from the service.  In addition, a previous survey revealed that approximately one fifth of residents are placed in wards over 100km away from their homes.

The Chief Executive of Mencap, Jan Tregelles, and the Chief Executive of the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, Vivien Cooper, said “That some of the most vulnerable people in our society are in settings where they are regularly restrained, over-medicated and kept in isolation is utterly disgraceful.  In addition, the fact that this appalling ‘care’ is costing the public purse, in many cases, up to £4,500 per week demands that urgent questions are asked and answers provided.  It is not enough for the government to say it should not be happening…the failure to stop this happening is an utter disgrace.”

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said “People with learning disabilities or autism deserve the best possible care, so the widespread use of anti-psychotic and restrictive practices is extremely concerning.  This is intolerable and needs to change.”

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