STANDARDS OF PRACTICE FOR PHYSIOTHERAPISTS working with adults with a learning disability
The toolkits and documents to support specialist learning disability physiotherapists implement the standards into practice.
Definition of Specialist Learning Disability Physiotherapists:
"Learning disability physiotherapists provide specialist assessment, treatment and management to adults with a learning disability whose needs cannot be successfully met by mainstream services, even when reasonable adjustments are made. Physiotherapists will work in collaboration with the person, their network of care, mainstream health services, and the multidisciplinary team to enhance, optimise and maintain the person’s physical presentation, function and quality of life."
The aim of the standards of practice are to improve and standardise the delivery, development and commissioning of specialist physiotherapy to adults with a learning disability across the UK.
To achieve this, physiotherapists working in community learning disability teams will need to implement the standards of practice into their local area. They will need to develop an understanding of the:
- Demand and gaps in current services
- Local population of adults with a learning disability
- Availability and accessibility of relevant mainstream health and social care services
This information is critical to be able to target and prioritise resources appropriately; manage risk; and offer timely intervention within the limitations of services.
Developing and launching the standards of practice was the first step. We are aware that there are examples of good practice happening across the UK. Now we have the evidence to support the role of the specialist learning disability physiotherapist; we need to develop a body of practice examples which outlines the impact the profession has on clinical outcomes; the experiences of adults with a learning disability and their network of cares; and cost savings for health and social care.
We would really appreciate it if you could write and send us examples of good practice. These can be about:
- local service delivery and pathways;
- local initiatives; case studies;
- local research and audits; and
- quality improvement projects.
These will not only support physiotherapists and services to develop their own practice but evidence how specialist physiotherapy deliver successful outcomes.
Practice examples will be available for all to access on the Practice Example webpage as well as guidance and a template for writing your example.
Sarah Bruce, Lead Clinician Physiotherapist and David Standley, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist