Learning Disability (LD) nurses have undertaken a nursing qualification specifically in learning disabilities.
If there is a query as to whether a person has a learning disability (not a learning difficulty) then they may be referred to the learning disabilities team for assessment of their cognitive abilities. If a person attended a ‘special school’ and has already had a cognitive assessment which indicated their IQ was 70 or below then they would potentially be identified as having a learning disability.
People who are assessed as fitting the definition of learning disabilities may present with complex needs including autism spectrum disorder, physical disabilities, epilepsy, mental health issues and behaviours which may challenge. They could be referred to and seen by a learning disability nurse for assessment of their needs, care planning and monitoring to make sure that interventions remain appropriate and continue to meet their needs. This assessment may be undertaken with other professionals.
LD nurses may work in in-patient wards; community teams or respite units. They may work in children and adult services as well as across the transition services between children and adults. They will usually work as part of a multi-disciplinary team including consultant psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapist, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists and social workers and support workers.
LD nurses will work closely with the person with learning disabilities and their family or carers with a view to supporting the person with learning disabilities to live as independently as possible.