Specific standards of care for adults with intellectual disabilities

Nurs Manag (Harrow). 2015 Apr;22(1):32-7. doi: 10.7748/nm.22.1.32.e1296.


Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID) represent a small but important group of patients who have high levels of hospitalisation, and who are likelier to have more complications and spend more days in intensive care than those without ID admitted to hospital for similar problems. However, nursing and medical staff lack training in the care of people with ID. To address the needs of this patient group, an academic medical centre in the mid-western United States has developed specific standards of nursing care. This article describes the standards, which cover nursing interventions to enhance communication, the provision of safe and accessible environments, and collaboration with and support for caregivers; it also outlines the online educational programme that was developed for nurses to support their implementation and use of the standards.

Keywords: Intellectual disabilities; communication; developmental disabilities; nursing care plans; standards of care.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / nursing*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwestern United States
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Nursing Care / standards*
  • Patient Safety
  • Standard of Care*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires