Toward mainstream nursing roles specialising in the care of people with intellectual and developmental disability

Nathan Wilson, Stacey Rees, Ruth Northway, Peter Griffiths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is international evidence that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities experience barriers to health care and inequalities in health. Nurses are well placed to assist in reducing these inequalities, but countries differ in the way they prepare nurses to meet the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Concerns have been expressed regarding a lack of appropriate educational preparation and the impact that this has on the health of this population.

This discussion paper describes and explores the model of specialist nursing in Wales, UK with a specific focus on the role of community nurses and the hospital liaison nurse. This is then compared with the current situation in Australia which, it is argued, is fragmented and uncoordinated.

Although some promising developments are noted, it is argued that to effectively identify and meet the health needs of Australians with intellectual and developmental disabilities, a transformation is required to the educational preparation and recruitment of nurses.

Models of care that are widespread in Wales, UK, offer insights into how mainstream health services in Australia can accommodate specialist intellectual and developmental disability roles for nurses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)782-787
Number of pages6
Issue number5
Early online date23 Mar 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Mar 2022


  • Intellectual and developmental disability
  • Nursing
  • reasonable adjustment
  • nurse
  • learning disability liaison nurse
  • health


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