Identifying training needs for mainstream healthcare professionals, to prepare them for working with individuals with intellectual disabilities: a systematic review.

Peer-reviewed article
(2015 Mar) J Appl Res Intellect Disabil, 28 98-110


Hemm C, Dagnan D, Meyer TD



Research suggests there is a high prevalence of physical and mental ill health among individuals with intellectual disabilities and that staff working in mainstream healthcare services lack knowledge, skills and positive attitudes in supporting this client group. This review aimed to locate, extract themes from and evaluate the current literature that had assessed the training needs of mainstream health professionals within this area.


This review utilized a mixed-methods approach, with systematic elements used to locate and evaluate the literature (n = 13) and a narrative approach used to explore patterns and themes identified. The search was completed across four databases, using the search terms felt most likely to capture the relevant literature.


Three main themes of perceived training need were identified across a range of professional groups: general communication, knowledge/information and profession-specific needs.


This review highlights the existing themes of training needs as identified by mainstream healthcare staff. It would appear that it may be possible to produce a core training package, suitable across professions with elements that are profession specific and therefore tailored accordingly. Limitations of the literature are explored within this review, as are recommendations for the directions of future research.