A systematic review of the evidence base for lifestyle planning in adults with learning disabilities: implications for other disabled populations

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Abstract

Objective

To carry out the first systematic review of the evidence base for lifestyle planning (LP) approaches in adults with learning disability/developmental disorder and to discuss implications for other handicapped/disabled groups.

Method

Exhaustive review of relevant electronic databases, supplemented by appropriate hand-searching of journals and correspondence with key researchers. We gathered information from any papers reporting clear outcome measures. Quantitative and qualitative aspects of relevant studies are appraised.

Results

There are no randomized controlled trials of lifestyle planning in adults with learning disability/developmental disorder. There was one controlled trial. Five studies, with a total of 108 subjects clearly identified, report on some outcome data.

Conclusions

There is surprisingly little evidence to support any form of lifestyle planning or lifestyle planning in general in the learning disability population. No statistically significant findings on positive outcomes with good statistical power exist. Limited data are presented to suggest certain desirable features of some methods of lifestyle planning in terms of process or outcome. However, there may be good ethical reasons for pursuing lifestyle planning with certain patient groups. Suggestions are made as to how further research may add to the evidence base for or against effective outcomes in different forms of lifestyle planning.

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