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Deborah Cartlidge, Sue Read
International Journal of Palliative Nursing, Vol. 16, Iss. 2, 26 Feb 2010, pp 93 - 98

As the English National Health Service (NHS) celebrates its 60th anniversary, the challenges of providing equal access to health services for all remain numerous and complex. For certain groups in society, accessing appropriate, quality health care may be fraught with difficulties. While people with an intellectual disability (ID) may have additional health-care needs, they often struggle to acquire the health care they require, particularly when they have a life-limiting condition. This article introduces a qualitative research study conducted in a North Staffordshire hospice. This study explored the hospice staff's perceptions of their own professional needs while caring for a person with an ID who required palliative or terminal care within the hospice setting. This article will define the population involved, explore the literature which provides a contextual backdrop against which the research sits, introduce the methods and procedures used, and describe and discuss these findings in relation to the palliative care provision for people with an ID from a hospice perspective. It concludes by recognizing that appropriate education and training remain essential preparation for hospice workers when caring for someone with an ID. This article should be of interest to clinicians in both palliative care and ID services, to managers and providers of such services, to those educators keen to maintain contemporary palliative care practice, and to researchers.

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