NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ763872
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jun
Pages: 5
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1354-4187
A Family Facing End of Life Issues of a Person with Learning Disabilities--A Personal Reflection
Harwood, Ian
British Journal of Learning Disabilities, v35 n2 p102-106 Jun 2007
In 2005, the Royal College of Psychiatry Faculty of Learning Disability's three judges unanimously awarded the inaugural Medical Student Essay Prize to Ian Harwood, a mature medical student at Barts & The London School of Medicine. This reflective piece records an undergraduate's contact with an adolescent suffering from advanced Sanfillipo Syndrome and her family. The initial impetus for the essay was the challenge of carrying out a history-taking communication skills project when the patient has profound learning difficulties and cannot verbally communicate. Research into pathological grief in the general population is a relatively recent area of focus and it has been established that little work has been performed to examine the effects of bereavement and loss on people with learning disabilities (Dodd, Dowling & Hollins, 2005). The untimely death of a child, described in 1995 by Judd as "a death out of season", is one of the most shocking and profoundly disturbing events that can occur. The role, nature and consequences of denial in such a family with a member with profound learning difficulties are explored. Existing research is used to justify concern for the family's future capacity to cope and relevant management strategies are proposed. It concludes that exposing medical students to people with learning disabilities and their families can provide valuable opportunities for both personal and professional growth.
Blackwell Publishing. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8599; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (London)