Aims Children with learning disabilities have both a higher incidence of health conditions and health inequalities than their peers. They often require care in multiple environments and from multiple caregivers. Community nurses are involved in writing health plans for these children. The aim of this study was to explore the perceptions of community nurses on how health plans can effectively be used to communicate the health needs of children with learning disabilities.
Methods This qualitative, exploratory, descriptive study involved eight children’s community nurses, participating in focus groups. The focus groups were audio recorded and the transcriptions were analysed using thematic analysis.
Results The analysed data resulted in three inter-related themes; (i) tension between specific health plans vs overall picture of the child, whereby the differences between needing succinct, prescriptive health information as well as more detailed and descriptive information about the child were explored, (ii) writing health plans, including who should write and update the plans, and (iii) sharing health plans, highlighting the issues of data protection, use of multiple plans in multiple areas and the need to have one comprehensive health plan in use in all areas and with all carers.
Conclusions This study highlighted that for effective communication of health needs, accurate health plans need to be accessible to parents, caregivers and professionals. Further clarification is needed regarding roles and responsibilities with regard to writing, maintaining and sharing health plans. Findings support the potential benefits incorporating health plans into integrated, shared, digital information systems.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.