Supporting adults with intellectual disabilities who present with challenging behaviours: a cross-case analysis of staff perceptions of work and training
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Information and training to assist staff in preventing, managing and remediating challenging behaviours exhibited by individuals with intellectual disabilities is readily available. However, knowledge gained via training is not integrated easily or transposed into work settings. Instead, management of issues is often haphazard and based on what works for a specific situation at the given moment. Although an abundance of research has been conducted on knowledge uptake, direct support staff that are integral to effective service delivery have often been neglected. As well, consideration of whether staff find the evidence relevant and applicable within their work environment has not been measured. The PARiHS Framework, Mindlines and Social Exchange theories assisted in addressing the question: what are staff experiences of applying training information into residential services for individuals with intellectual disabilities who present with challenging behaviours? Qualitative cross-case study methodology was employed and focused on two community residences governed by an agency offering supports to adults with intellectual disabilities. Unit A findings highlighted five key themes that emphasized personal confidence, elements of communication, consistency in approach, connection with individuals, teams and leaders, as well as continuing education strengths and barriers. Within Unit B, five main themes that accentuated personal traits such as caring and nurturing, in addition to communication factors, changes and challenges within the work context, connection to others and perceptions of continuing education were established.