PLANNING FOR LIFE

Reviewed by Carmel Doyle Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin

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I found this book effective in clarifying an area that remains quite vague—whether it is realistic that people with learning disabilities can be involved in planning their own services? This book outlines the historical context of care for people with learning disabilities and summarises strategies for implementing normalisation and citizenship. Although outlined in Valuing People, involvement by service users is investigated to see if this is achievable in practice. Communication difficulties appear to impede the reality of involving people with disabilities in discussions surrounding service planning for the future. The author outlines a research study in which individuals, their families and carers were interviewed and group observations carried out. Opinions on what is important to service users involved in service planning were sought. A common theme emerged from the study: people with learning disability want their voice to be heard and make it clear they want to be involved in service planning in the future. However, currently it’s just not happening and the author suggests it’s tokenistic.

I found the depth of historical content in the book insightful. In addition, the involvement of service users in the research study adds to the ongoing debates surrounding involvement. This book is informative and enlightening and I think its contents are appropriate for those individuals working with adults with learning disabilities, both in practice and at policy and management level.

PLANNING FOR LIFE: Involving Adults with Learning Disabilities in Service Planning, by Liam Concannon

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