An audit of adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities within a West Midlands Community Health Trust – implications for service development

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An audit was carried out to gain an overview of the profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) population in a local health trust to inform current and future service provision. An overview of the issues faced in developing clear defining criteria is presented. Published definitions of PMLD were used to identify clients from data held on the Special Needs Register (SNR – a data base of people with learning disabilities known to health and social services departments). Information obtained was cross checked with community teams and other professional service records to identify any further individuals who may meet criteria for PMLD. Existing information from individual case notes was then audited to confirm the clients identified meet the criteria for PMLD. The audit identified 61 adults with PMLD; all have complex needs and multiple health care requirements. Eighty-three per cent had two or more disabilities in addition to profound intellectual impairment. Twenty-nine per cent were reported as having problems with dysphagia. People with PMLD should be given priority for health action plans, particularly vision and hearing screening. The audit also needs to be extended to include younger people in transition to adult services. A register of clients with PMLD needs to be established and maintained as part of the SNR register.

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