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The size, extent and nature of the learning disability nursing research base: A systematic scoping review

The size, extent and nature of the learning disability nursing research base: A systematic scoping review
The size, extent and nature of the learning disability nursing research base: A systematic scoping review
Background
A research base should be of sufficient quality and quantity to inform nursing practice. It must allow nurses to access information about clients’ needs and to identify effective strategies for meeting those needs. This paper presents the findings of a scoping review of ‘learning disability nursing research’. The review aimed to determine whether there is a research base sufficient to support learning disability nursing practice.

Method
We undertook searches of the Cochrane Library and electronic databases (Medline, Psychinfo, Embase, CINAHL and British Nursing Index) for the years 1996–2006. Full references and abstracts were downloaded for papers returned. Papers considered relevant to the topic of the review were organised into three categories according to whether the main focus of the research was people with learning disabilities, carers or family members, or nurses. For each paper, information about the locality of the research, the topic of the research, design/method and sample size was extracted.

Findings
We identified 180 relevant research studies, most of which made use of convenience samples of less than one hundred people. Very few studies evaluated the clinical impact of nursing interventions or the delivery of care by learning disability nurses. A small number of studies examined the impact or patient experiences of nurse-led interventions. These tend to small-scale evaluations of new service initiatives, such as the management of behavioural problems. Overall there was an absence of strong evidence about the effectiveness of specific nursing interventions.

Conclusions
The extent of learning disability nursing research is limited in quantity and it is difficult to draw comparisons across research studies. Much of the available evidence is drawn from small-scale evaluations; which may provide useful guidance and inspiration for service development but do not, in themselves, constitute a sufficient body of research evidence to support learning disability nursing practice.

learning disabilities, developmental disability, mental retardation, nursing, evidence-based practice, research utilisation, systematic review
0020-7489
490-507
Griffiths, Peter
ac7afec1-7d72-4b83-b016-3a43e245265b
Bennett, Janette
3c7f1cc8-0932-464b-995b-95b5396e63ab
Smith, Elizabeth
2edaa8c4-6f44-450a-a625-75c3546f71aa
Griffiths, Peter
ac7afec1-7d72-4b83-b016-3a43e245265b
Bennett, Janette
3c7f1cc8-0932-464b-995b-95b5396e63ab
Smith, Elizabeth
2edaa8c4-6f44-450a-a625-75c3546f71aa

Griffiths, Peter, Bennett, Janette and Smith, Elizabeth (2009) The size, extent and nature of the learning disability nursing research base: A systematic scoping review. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 46 (4), 490-507. (doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2008.05.009).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background
A research base should be of sufficient quality and quantity to inform nursing practice. It must allow nurses to access information about clients’ needs and to identify effective strategies for meeting those needs. This paper presents the findings of a scoping review of ‘learning disability nursing research’. The review aimed to determine whether there is a research base sufficient to support learning disability nursing practice.

Method
We undertook searches of the Cochrane Library and electronic databases (Medline, Psychinfo, Embase, CINAHL and British Nursing Index) for the years 1996–2006. Full references and abstracts were downloaded for papers returned. Papers considered relevant to the topic of the review were organised into three categories according to whether the main focus of the research was people with learning disabilities, carers or family members, or nurses. For each paper, information about the locality of the research, the topic of the research, design/method and sample size was extracted.

Findings
We identified 180 relevant research studies, most of which made use of convenience samples of less than one hundred people. Very few studies evaluated the clinical impact of nursing interventions or the delivery of care by learning disability nurses. A small number of studies examined the impact or patient experiences of nurse-led interventions. These tend to small-scale evaluations of new service initiatives, such as the management of behavioural problems. Overall there was an absence of strong evidence about the effectiveness of specific nursing interventions.

Conclusions
The extent of learning disability nursing research is limited in quantity and it is difficult to draw comparisons across research studies. Much of the available evidence is drawn from small-scale evaluations; which may provide useful guidance and inspiration for service development but do not, in themselves, constitute a sufficient body of research evidence to support learning disability nursing practice.

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More information

Published date: April 2009
Keywords: learning disabilities, developmental disability, mental retardation, nursing, evidence-based practice, research utilisation, systematic review

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 168027
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/168027
ISSN: 0020-7489
PURE UUID: 1be59464-c355-4ecd-a4a6-45fb6d5662d2
ORCID for Peter Griffiths: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2439-2857

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 23 Nov 2010 11:59
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 01:40

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