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Learning disability nurses are employed to take care of people of all ages who suffer from physical or mental health conditions which directly hinder learning and development. Their responsibility is to support patients in a way that enables them to enjoy a good quality of life and to live as independently as possible. This role mixes healthcare with social work and includes teaching patients essential skills for work and socialising.
Nurses specialising in the care of people with learning disabilities work in a variety of settings: in hospitals; in adult education and community centres; in schools; and in patients’ homes. Additionally, they might organise and attend events and activities to promote social interaction. This is similar to the role of an advocate.
They will work closely with other healthcare professionals, which could include social workers, therapists or general practitioners. This largely depends on the individual needs of the patient. They need to maintain close contact with patients’ families to assess requirements and discuss treatment or rehabilitation strategies.
The promotion of equality in the community and in healthcare should be one of the top priorities of a learning disabilities nurse. In this respect, nurses might work in collaboration with charities and not for profit organisations on campaigns and on the provision of social care.