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Nursing Research Methods Paper Example

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Nursing care is provided to people with diverse health and sick care needs in multiple contexts all over the world. The competence and knowledge required to meet the varied care needs may be overwhelming even for experienced registered nurses. However, various nursing programs have been designed to allow the knowledge not only to be accumulated but also assimilated by nurses. This section reviews the literature regarding effective nursing interventions to improve the physical health of people with learning disabilities.

Literature Review of Nursing Research for People with Learning Disabilities

To start with, Hithersay, Strydom, Moulster, and Buszewicz (2014) conducted a review of health interventions in various health settings and populations to investigate the potential roles of carers in learning disability healthcare. In the study, the researchers sought to highlight the important role that nurses play in assessing, monitoring, and promoting the health of people with learning disabilities. These intervention strategies are critical in improving the health outcome of the target population.

The investigators used rapid systematic review methodology with a scale that runs from 1A to 5. 1A provided the highest evidence possible, while 5 had the lowest possible score on interventions based on expert opinion. The results of the scores showed that one of the care-led interventions for the nurses was to work closely with parents in managing childhood obesity and overweight in children with learning disabilities. This health promotion intervention strategy was important because of the serious health problem that obesity poses to the life of people with learning disabilities. To achieve this health intervention objective, nurses should help parents understand the need for behavior change, healthy lifestyle as well as training, especially for parents whose children are overweight. The strategies are more likely to assist in reducing the body mass index (BMI) significantly in children with learning disabilities.

During the study, the BMI of the control group without the interventions did not represent positive outcomes. This factor indicates that where the nurses do not intervene through any of the suggested strategies, children with learning disabilities are unlikely to have positive outcomes. From the combined reviews on the topic, it was found that targeting parents was favorable for health improvements in health promotion or the healthier lifestyles of their children. Importantly, parenting and healthy lifestyles skills training had the potential of reducing food consumption in children with learning disabilities and their BMI.

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Additionally, caloric food consumption resulted in increasing the risk of weight gain and obesity, which are considered important aspects of learning disability in children. The investigators reported that to deal with the problem of poor parenting and healthy lifestyle skills, nurses needed to provide nursing educational materials focusing on dietary management. Such materials provide vital information that would change the parental perception of the intake of certain classes of food. The parental-care-led interventions were critical in symptom monitoring and management, health promotion, mental as well as physical health screening procedures (Hithersay et al., 2014).

Where persons with a learning disability take unhealthy foods, such as the ones that increase weight, nurses could have advised carers to change the diet to a more proper ratio. Nurses also explained how to exercise as a way of promoting healthy lifestyles. The source is useful in covering the studied topic since it emphasizes the importance of recognizing that nurses, through their training, have the necessary skills and knowledge to conduct screening tests to diagnose both physical and mental challenges, and then advise carers accordingly.

In another research, under the guideline of the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, Burke (2014) compiled a report to show how nurses were raising awareness among health care and social service providers, commissioners, and policymakers as an intervention strategy to enhance the wellbeing of people living with learning disabilities. The investigation was conducted after the realization of the inequalities that occur in the way the target audience receives health and social support. However, the services offered to people with learning disabilities need to be person-centered and of a high standard. Although there are many initiatives to reduce the stigma associated with mental health, persons with learning disabilities have continued to face various difficulties in accessing mental health services as compared to other groups.

The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, working with an established reference group of people with learning disabilities, identified cognitive behavior therapy as an invention strategy that nurses can use to improve the wellbeing of people with learning disabilities. From the responses of 197 people between the ages of 16 to 65, 8.6% of the respondents recorded physical pain as one of the most common issues that people with learning disabilities are likely to experience (Burke, 2014). Learning disability nurses were identified to be in a good position to provide cognitive behavior therapy.

This method of nursing intervention was proposed given it has been applied more successfully in the target group rather than in the general population. Nurses can promote social desirability, ensure acquiescence, and deal with problems of incomprehension and anxiety efficiently in light of this framework (Burke, 2014). Nurses can help carers to identify the problems through pictorial materials as well as through supplementary questions that help to assess comprehension (Burke, 2014).

Therefore, the recommendation is that a nurse as a specialist in learning disability lead could be appointed to advise and assist in addressing the needs of people with learning disabilities. Such nurses can provide health checks and health action plans through regular audits to be shared with local health boards to promote the wellbeing of those with learning disabilities (Burke, 2014).

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Similarly, Robertson, Roberts, and Emerson (2010) conducted a systematic review on health checks as an intervention for the analyzed audience. Based on the implementation of annual health checks for learning disabled people in England, the findings allow an opportunity to develop competent health policy responses. To achieve the objective of the research, the researchers were involved in the identification of related peer-reviewed articles. A sum of 38 of such articles was considered from nearly 800 participants, just 5 people less. The samples covered the age and range severity of learning disabilities. The studies reviewed by Robertson et al. (2010) had information gathered through interviews or questionnaires and cross-sectional surveys. The studies used were those that expressed the views of practice nurses, carers, and service users.

The sections covered in the review included health promotion information on weight, blood pressure, height, BMI, urine analysis, cholesterol level cervical screening, and immunization status. The investigation also included chronic illness inquiry on the cardiovascular, respiratory, central nervous, abdominal, gynecological, and genitor-urinary systems. The fourth content was information on epilepsy along with behavior information on self-injury, aggressive, overactive, and other challenging behavior. The fifth section was on physical examination information on vision, respiratory systems, cardiovascular system, hearing, abdomen, mobility, communication, breast examination, and dermatology. Finally, there was a section on medication information, such as indicating the dosage, side effects, and levels of medication in the blood.

The studies used in the review provided data from such countries as the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States (Robertson et al., 2010). In the UK, multidisciplinary clinic checks taken in a learning disability hospital on 35 people with Down’s syndrome identified specific health needs, including pain, vision, hearing suspected dementia, and mental disorder as some of the areas that demanded keen focus (Robertson et al., 2010).

The role of the disability nurse in explaining the effects of these health needs was highlighted as critical in the study. The investigators identified several health conditions affecting people with learning disabilities that required nursing interventions to improve physical health. They were overweight or obese, vision impairment, referral for testing, and undescended testicles (Robertson et al., 2010). The study referred to another research conducted in the US, which provided information on the comprehensive geriatric assessment conducted in 41 elderly people with learning disabilities. The assessments were conducted by a geriatric nurse practitioner, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, a geriatrician, and a geriatric dental fellow.

The material highlights an important role of nurses in diagnosing previously undetected conditions, such as anemia, skin cancer, hypothyroidism, and hyperlipidemia, all of which affect the physical wellbeing of people with learning disabilities (Robertson et al., 2010). Importantly, this study showed that an in-home intervention involving a comprehensive geriatric assessment by an advanced practice nurse was notable in improving the health of people with learning disabilities. The significance of the study was particularly fit for learning disability patients with sadness or depression, seizure disorder, sleep, hearing loss, ear wax, pain, and constipation (Robertson et al., 2010).


There are several other conditions for which the role of advanced practice nurses in providing information and care for patients with disabilities was critical. They are hemophilia, vaginal bleeding, chest pain, diabetes, smoking, as well as being underweight (Robertson et al., 2010). Indeed, the research included the views of professionals involved in the implementation of health needs, specifically nurses and general practitioners. However, the important conclusion made from the study was that the introduction of health checks for people with learning disabilities was crucial for improved lifestyles.

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