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Posted on October 4, 2018

A new report, ““Shaping the Future of Intellectual Disability Nursing in Ireland” was launched by Minister Finian McGrath TD., on September 19th 2018. The Registered Nurse in Intellectual Disability (RNID) report is sponsored by HSE Disability Services and the HSE Office of Nursing & Midwifery Services Division (ONMSD) in partnership with Professor Mary McCarron and her team in Trinity College Dublin.

The report’s four major themes: Underpinning philosophy for practice (person-centredness); Health and social care supports; Nursing capability and Quality measurement and improvement set out a clear direction for the future role of intellectual disability nursing ensuring the best possible health and social care is delivered to individuals with an intellectual disability.

Pictured from left to right, are: Anne Marie Ryan (HSE Social Care), Professor Mary McCarron (Dean of Faculty of Health Sciences, Trinity), Dr Fintan Sheerin (Head of Intellectual Disability Nursing, Trinity) and Ms Liz Roche (HSE Office of the Director of Nursing & Midwifery).
Pictured from left to right, are: Anne Marie Ryan (HSE Social Care), Professor Mary McCarron (Dean of Faculty of Health Sciences, Trinity), Dr Fintan Sheerin (Head of Intellectual Disability Nursing, Trinity) and Ms Liz Roche (HSE Office of the Director of Nursing & Midwifery).

To achieve safe and high quality health and social care within community-based services, a core ingredient must be the availability of competent registered nurses, skilled in the field of intellectual disability, to support individuals with a disability achieve and maintain optimum health and well-being. People with an intellectual disability are living longer and for some, complex health issues may develop earlier in life than in the general population. We are also cognisant that more children with significant health and cognitive concerns are surviving into adulthood. These people, both young and old, experience a range of health and social care challenges (both physical and psychological), highlighting the critical need for highly skilled intellectual disability nursing care and support across the lifespan.

Minister McGrath said, “I am delighted to launch today the HSE Registered Nurse in Intellectual Disability (RNID) Report, “Shaping the Future of Intellectual Disability Nursing in Ireland”. One of the objectives I had upon being appointed Minister for Disabilities two and a half years ago was to have the person with the disability at the very forefront of our thoughts and actions. As an example of this thinking, in September 2016, I established a Taskforce on Personalised Budgets. I was delighted to recently publish the results of that Taskforce’s deliberations. The main thrust, I believe, of the Taskforce was on the emphasis of a person-centred approach to the lives of the person with the disability and this also features prominently in today’s report.  A phrase used in the report complements one of my main objectives for the future for people with disabilities which is, “Supporting people with an intellectual disability to live ordinary lives in ordinary places”.  This Report outlines details of the findings that suggest a clear requirement for the role of the Registered Nurse in Intellectual Disabilities in the future to support the implementation of policy thereby enhancing the service delivery model in an interdisciplinary environment.”

Participation and input from key stakeholders in the fields of health, social care and education, as well as individuals with an intellectual disability, families, national and international experts and staff across a variety of professions throughout disability services, advocacy groups informed the road map developed in this report. We have now a clear path to the successful delivery of health and social care for people with an intellectual disability throughout their life span, facilitated through the development of intellectual disability nursing.

Marion Meaney, Head of Disability Strategy & Planning, HSE said, “Disability services are changing and we must plan for the future, so to adapt and deliver a more holistic model of service and care that include both health and social care. This report outlines for the first time in Ireland a framework for the development of the RNID profession to ensure that it meets the support requirements of individuals with an intellectual disability with their health, well-being and social care in a community based model. Thank you to Professor Mary McCarron, her team in Trinity College Dublin for their partnership working with the project steering group, and to all those who provided information and expertise to inform the report. It reinforces that any and all developments need to be undertaken within an overall philosophy of practice where the person with an ID is at the centre of everything we do.”

The RNID is required to continuously modify their role, ways of working and practice to support evolving models of service and changes in service structure. Registered Nurses in Intellectual Disability must adapt, modify and adjust to continue to meet the challenge of delivering a holistic service across increasingly diverse settings.

The launch of this report is particularly timely, as it sets out to ensure that educational, practice, managerial and operational supports for intellectual disability nursing are provided to meet today’s changing service environments.  The RNID is required to continuously modify their role, their ways of working and their practice to support evolving models of service and changes in service structure.

Dr. Fintan Sheerin (Co-Principal Investigator), Trinity College Dublin, said, “‘Shaping the Future of Intellectual Disability Nursing in Ireland’ is the one of the most important reports related to intellectual disability health and social care to have been published in Ireland. It comes at a time of significant policy and demographic change, when more children with complex needs are surviving to adulthood and older people with an intellectual disability are achieving greater longevity. Such changes bring with them particular health and social needs. With an increased focus on community-based care, this report, which was led by Prof. Mary McCarron (Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Professor of Ageing and Intellectual Disabilities at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin), is particularly timely, as it will ensure that the unique contribution of intellectual disability nursing will be developed such that health and social care can continue to be provided to people with an intellectual disability in a person-centered manner, wherever they are living, and throughout their life-spans.”

The vision and ultimate aim of this report is to set out a clear and evidence-based direction for intellectual disability nursing; one that is sustainable and which has person-centeredness, safety and inclusion at its core. This will achieve even higher levels of excellence in the delivery of intellectual disability nursing service to people with an intellectual disability.

The report can be accessed at http://bit.ly/2piuHU2 

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