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Caregivers’ Perceptions of People With Intellectual Disabilities Research Paper

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Updated: Sep 22nd, 2020

Abstract

The targeted study seeks to explore caregivers’ perceptions of intellectually disabled persons and their impact on the quality of care. Current literature shows that many mentally disabled persons have been ignored in different healthcare delivery systems. The study will use focus groups and constant comparison analysis to come up with quality research findings. Such findings will be used to develop effective healthcare policy for supporting the needs of intellectually disabled persons. The proposed study will present new approaches and practices that can be used to support the health needs of many patients with mental disabilities.

Introduction

Background Information

Past studies have presented mixed views regarding the view of direct caregivers’ perception of people with intellectual disabilities and their impact on the level of medical care. These results have made it impossible for many medical professionals to propose better policies that can avail better care to mentally disabled persons. Many patients with mental disabilities have been discriminated in different healthcare settings (Thornicroft, Rose, & Kassam, 2007). Many healthcare policies have failed to transform the health outcomes of many individuals with mental disabilities.

Purpose Statement and Public Health Implications

That being the case, the proposed study seeks to explore the view of direct caregivers’ perception of people with intellectual disabilities. This knowledge will outline the impact of such perceptions on the level and quality of care provided to such persons. The ultimate goal is to propose evidence-based practices and approaches that can improve the health outcomes of every mentally-disabled patient (Thornicroft et al., 2007). This knowledge will result in better health practices that can address the health needs of these persons.

Rationale

Mentally disabled groups should receive equal healthcare and support. However, this has not been the case because of discrimination and negative perception among healthcare providers. Current literature does not offer conclusive analyses to explain the complexity, origin, and challenges associated with intellectual disability (Corrigan, 2004). The study will, therefore, outline the perceptions of healthcare providers and how they affect the quality of care available to such patients. A powerful qualitative research approach will be used in order to complete a successful study. The members involved in every focus group will outline the major gaps affecting the quality of care delivered to patients with mental disabilities.

Definition of terms

  • Intellectual disability: This is a disability known to affect a person’s adaptive behavior and intellectual functioning (Corrigan, 2004).
  • Health care policy: A specified model or action plan aimed at achieving specific healthcare goals.
  • Satisfaction: Ability to receive content and desirable health care.

Literature Review

Individuals with “intellectual disabilities are categorized as a vulnerable group when it comes to the issue of care” (Corrigan, 2004, p. 615). Such persons have poor health outcomes and lifestyles. Lin, Yen, Li, and Wu (2005) argue that the health needs of many people with mental disabilities are ignored by different societies and caregivers.

These people encounter a wide range of health challenges that require continued hospitalization. Lin et al. (2005) indicate that such people tend to die early and spend much time in healthcare institutions. This issue has encouraged more scholars to focus on the best strategies that can improve the health outcomes of these mentally disabled persons.

Patients with various mental problems encounter numerous barriers in getting appropriate health services (Corrigan, 2004). The individuals lack proper health delivery models. They also encounter numerous challenges whenever looking for better solutions to their health challenges. Many “disabled persons experience barriers in getting support for better lifestyle choices” (Lin et al., 2005, p. 231).

Many healthcare providers argue that they work hard to deliver quality care to patients with different mental disabilities. However, studies have indicated that such patients receive compromised or delayed healthcare services. The quality of care available to many people with mental disabilities remains questionable in many parts of the world. For very many years, individuals with various mental problems have been omitted from various healthcare agendas and campaigns (Corrigan, 2004). This fact explains why the problem of healthcare disparity continues to affect many societies. Different healthcare systems fail to embrace the power of evidence-based research in an attempt to support more persons with mental disabilities.

Medical professionals and theorists have been focusing on the best strategies to eliminate these health disparities. This is the case many caregivers have negative perceptions about mentally disabled individuals. Consequently, the malpractice has continued to affect the quality and level of care delivered to such patients (Lin et al., 2005). Better healthcare delivery models can be proposed in an attempt to improve the quality of care and health support available to these vulnerable groups.

Methodology

Proposed Research Methodology

A powerful qualitative approach will be used to undertake this study. During the study, a focus group will be used in order to get the most desirable results. The use of a focus group will ensure the relevant information regarding the perception of different healthcare providers is obtained. The focus group will include several caregivers, nurse practitioners (NPs), and medical professionals. The professionals will present quality views regarding the issue of mental disability and how it affects the quality of care available to the targeted patients (Lin et al., 2005).

The study approach will present meaningful insights and ideas that can be used to develop the most appropriate healthcare policy. The research objectives and goals presented below will be used to guide the study.

Research Goals/Objectives

The following research objectives will be used to conduct targeted interviews. The goals will also be used to come up with the best findings and discussions.

  • To examine the competencies and experiences of caregivers providing medical support to mentally incapacitated patients.
  • To propose a new policy capable of promoting the health outcomes of mentally disabled patients.
  • To explore the views of direct caregivers’ perception of people with intellectual disabilities and their impact on the level of care provided.

Research Questions

The questions presented below will be used to undertake and complete the study.

  • What issues and factors dictate the quality of care delivered to mentally disabled persons?
  • How do caregivers’ perceptions of people with intellectual disabilities affect the quality and level of care provided to them?
  • What new measures and policies can be promoted in order to safeguard the nature of care available to persons with intellectual disabilities?

Data Collection and Analysis

As mentioned earlier, several focus groups will be used in order to get quality information from more respondents. Every focus group will be expected to present the most desirable information and themes that can be used to come up with meaningful conclusions (Creswell, 2007). The themes will play a significant role in producing a powerful health care policy that can make a difference for many mentally disabled persons.

After collecting relevant information using these focus groups, a powerful qualitative data analysis technique will be used. The proposed technique is a constant comparison analysis (Onwuegbuzie, Dickinson, Leech, & Zoran, 2009). This model was “developed by Glaser and Strauss in 1978” (Onwuegbuzie et al., 2009, p. 11). This model has been used extensively to analyze data obtained using focus groups. The analytical technique requires the use of three major stages. These stages will be used in order to produce quality information.

The first stage is known as “open coding whereby the collected data from the focus groups is grouped into smaller units” (Onwuegbuzie et al., 2009, p. 12). A code or descriptor is used to identify each of the data units. The second stage will be “the axial coding whereby the descriptors will be grouped to form several categories” (Onwuegbuzie et al., 2009, p. 12). The third stage is usually known as selective coding.

During the third stage, several themes are obtained from the information presented by members of each focus group. The use of focus groups will ensure several themes are obtained during the study (Ulin, Robinson, & Tolley, 2005). The next step will be to examine if the gathered themes from different groups are similar or different. The use of several focus groups will make it easier for researchers to test the collected themes. Such themes will be used to understand how different caregivers perceive patients with intellectual disabilities.

Recruitment and Inclusion of Participants

Competent caregivers from diverse backgrounds will be requested to be part of the targeted focus groups. Caregivers from various mental health units and departments will be part of the study. This approach will make it easier for the study to produce meaningful discussions. Every individuals willing to be part of the study will be included in the focus groups. The individuals should also be willing to offer evidence-based data and information.

Policymakers, social workers, and mental health specialists will be encouraged to participate in the focus groups (Creswell, 2007). These strategies will ensure the study approach gathers quality information. As well, members of the community and mentally-disabled patients can be involved throughout the study process (Onwuegbuzie et al., 2009). Such groups will present meaningful insights that can be used to design the most desirable healthcare policy for mentally-disabled persons.

Ensuring Trustworthy of Data and Ethical Considerations

The other important consideration is to ensure quality data is obtained from the study. The focus groups will be composed of competent practitioners who are capable of providing quality information and data. The respondents will be encouraged to provide evidence-based ideas and information in order to increase the level of validity (Thornicroft et al., 2007). The focus groups will be characterized by scientifically-guided questions. The research approach will also be collaborative in nature. This strategy will increase the trustworthiness of the gathered data.

The consent of different participants will be sought before undertaking the study. Human subjects will be treated with dignity throughout the study process (Onwuegbuzie et al., 2009). The concept of reflexivity will be embraced in order to ensure the gathered information can be used to propose a new healthcare policy. The healthcare policy will also encourage more caregivers are ready to offer quality services. Additionally, the targeted mentally disabled patients will be able to receive quality health care.

Appendix

Questions for a Focus Group on Caregivers’ Perception of People with Intellectual Disabilities

Engagement Questions

  1. What is the importance of delivering quality care to individuals with mental disabilities?
  2. What is the role of a caregiver in delivery quality care?

Exploration Questions

  1. What is your take about persons with mental disabilities?
  2. What is your view regarding these patients?
  3. What makes it impossible for these mentally disabled persons to get quality nursing care?
  4. What structural, cultural, social, and economic factors hinder the care availed to them?
  5. What positive measures can be undertaken to transform the care available to these groups?
  6. What is the implication of poor care for persons with intellectual disabilities?

Exit Questions

  1. What is the role of future caregivers towards improving the care of these patients?
  2. How can multidisciplinary teams improve the health outcomes of these patients?

Reference List

Corrigan, P. (2004). How stigma interferes with mental health care. American Psychologist, 59(7), 614-625.

Creswell, J. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design: choosing among five approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Lin, J., Yen, C., Li, C., & Wu, J. (2005). Caregivers’ perceptions of accessibility, satisfaction, and policy priorities of health care for people with intellectual disabilities in Taiwan. Journal of Medical Science, 25(5), 229-236.

Onwuegbuzie, A., Dickinson, W., Leech, N., & Zoran, A. (2009). A qualitative framework for collecting and analyzing data in focus group research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 8(3), 1-21.

Thornicroft, G., Rose, D., & Kassam, A. (2007). Discrimination in health care against people with mental illness. International Review of Psychiatry, 19(2), 113-122.

Ulin, P., Robinson, E., & Tolley, E. (2005). Qualitative methods in public health: a field guide for applied research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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