AIMS: To examine the role of learning disability liaison nurses in facilitating reasonable and achievable adjustments to support access to general hospital services for people with learning disabilities.
DESIGN: Mixed methods study involving four health boards in Scotland with established Learning Disability Liaison Nurses (LDLN) Services. Quantitative data of all liaison nursing referrals over 18 months and qualitative data collected from stakeholders with experience of using the liaison services within the previous 3-6 months.
METHODS: Six liaison nurses collected quantitative data of 323 referrals and activity between September 2008-March 2010. Interviews and focus groups were held with 85 participants included adults with learning disabilities (n = 5), carers (n = 16), primary care (n = 39), general hospital (n = 19) and liaison nurses (n = 6).
RESULTS/FINDINGS: Facilitating reasonable and achievable adjustments was an important element of the LDLNs' role and focussed on access to information; adjustments to care; appropriate environment of care; ensuring equitable care; identifying patient need; meeting patient needs; and specialist tools/resources.
CONCLUSION: Ensuring that reasonable adjustments are made in the general hospital setting promotes person-centred care and equal health outcomes for people with a learning disability. This view accords with 'Getting it right' charter produced by the UK Charity Mencap which argues that healthcare professionals need support, encouragement and guidance to make reasonable adjustments for this group. LDLNs have an important and increasing role to play in advising on and establishing adjustments that are both reasonable and achievable.