Learning disabled placed in care homes for older people

Learning disabled adults in Scotland are facing decades of “benign neglect” in older people’s care homes where their needs are going unmet, campaigners warned today.

There are at least 869 people with learning disabilities in older people’s care homes, one-third of whom are younger than 65, an investigation by the Learning Disability Alliance Scotland found.

The alliance, which represents voluntary sector providers for the client group, claimed learning disabled people were being placed in the settings because they were cheaper than specialist establishments.

They were, on average, at least 20 years younger than other residents and, once placed, few ever left. The alliance also found that the communication needs of learning disabled people were not being met in some homes. Other homes lacked access to specialist support.

“It is our view that these placements are inappropriate and should cease,” the alliance said. “Proper planning should be put in place to establish appropriate care for people with learning disabilities who get older.”

The research was based on a Scottish government analysis of a census of care homes last year and a survey of 88 homes for older people that were identified by regulator the Care Commission as housing learning disabled people.

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