Enabling hospitals to be more responsive to people with intellectual disabilities

Presented by Professor Christine Bigby, 8 September 2020

What is this webinar about?

The study concerns the interfaces across mainstream service systems, people with disabilities and their families, and disability service systems.  The study aim was to provide evidence about the processes and practices that enable mainstream services such as hospitals to identify and respond to the particular needs of people with disabilities as a matter of course.

The study used mixed methods and was conducted in Victoria across two metropolitan health networks and one rural health network. Sixty primary participants (50 with intellectual disabilities and 10 with traumatic brain injury) were recruited as they commenced a hospital encounter and each stage of their journey through the system was documented. Data about patient’s experiences and those accompanying them (predominantly family members and disability support staff) were collected using unstructured non-participant observation (107) and semi structured interviews (93). Similar methods were used to collect data about the perspectives of hospital staff involved with primary participants during their encounter (137).

We identified promising individual ad hoc and systematic processes and practices – Promising Practices – that helped to accommodate the needs of people with cognitive disabilities and facilitate their receipt of high-quality hospital care. These were conceptualised as four inter-related constructs: support, information, collaboration and knowledge that could be used to guide the development of hospital practices to improve the care experiences and health outcomes of people with cognitive disabilities.

This presentation explains each of these constructs and outlines the next translational part of this program of research.

Presented by Professor Christine Bigby, with acknowledgements of other members of the research team, Professor Teresa Iacono, Jacinta Douglas and Dr Jo Spong.

Who is presenting?

Professor Christine Bigby is Director of the Living with Disability Research Centre at La Trobe University. She has won the ASID Research prize three times since 1993. She has published 6 books, 35 book chapters, over 135 journal articles and numerous research reports.  She is editor of the Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

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