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Nursing Care for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: An Integrated Approach

Wright, Amber RN, MSN, CPNP

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: June 2013 - Volume 34 - Issue 5 - p 381
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e31829cf8e5
Book Reviews

Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix Children's Hospital, Phoenix, AZ

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Although the discipline of caring for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) is vast, nursing professionals are capable and successful at providing care in a wide range of capacities for this population. Two leading nurses in the field of IDD authored this valuable text with collaboration from various nursing professionals and university faculty. Although written from a nursing perspective, the book is also meant for other health care professionals working in school, employment, and community settings. The authors' purpose of this book is to “provide reader[s] with comprehensive information about the care of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the life span.”

This text provides a general overview of the entire field of IDD including a discussion about history of care of individuals with IDD, discussion of theories of care, transitions throughout the life span, nursing-specific care, general considerations, disease-specific information about the most common known IDD disorders and, last, an outline of legislative and legal issues pertaining to this population.

The authors' systematic attention to life span transitions provides clinically significant and valuable information regarding these important life stages, particularly to those new to the field. From early medical transitions (e.g., neonatal intensive care unit to home) and on into adulthood, transitions tend to be a major stressor for individuals with IDD and their families. This topic was addressed thoroughly regarding each critical juncture. Readers are also provided with several national, educational, and vocational resources and recommendations on how to learn more about potential local resources.

Readers who are new to the profession, particularly nurses new to working with individuals with IDD, will find the chapter on nursing-specific care particularly helpful. Utilization of the nursing process (i.e., assessment, outcome identification, planning, and implementation) guides readers to apply classroom instruction into reality.

Specific known IDD disorders addressed in individual chapters include cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, fragile X, autism, and sensory impairment. Each chapter provides the reader with a general overview of each disorder and care considerations across the life span. Readers are also provided with a review of genetic considerations and a chapter reviewing mental and behavioral disorders prevalent among individuals with IDD.

Interestingly, although the text itself is not lengthy, readers are provided with exposure to a wide range of distinct areas related to nursing care of this population. It is an easily understandable clinically relevant text with a logical flow and a theme that centers on holistic family-centered care across the life span. The authors' collaboration with nursing professionals across the United States provides readers with a variety of expert opinions and resources. This is certainly a valuable resource to those who are new to the field, as a text for a university course on chronic illness and as a reference for general practitioners. Although the authors do not offer much the way of new information or research, readers who are experienced in the field may benefit from the extensive catalog of references at the conclusion of each chapter, allowing the reader to probe deeper into a given topic.

This text is a welcome addition to the field as a current and relevant resource for nursing and other health care professionals working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins