Within Issue 104

This issue has the specific theme of Personal Care and we were not disappointed in the range of contributions that we received from parents and practitioners and researchers. Day-to-day personal care activities, such as bathing, showering, applying creams and lotions, providing medication, dressing, toileting, meal preparation and feeding, may seem mundane and tend not to be talked about much but they are vital to sustaining a consistently good quality of life for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities.

Too often parents and other family members are seen by services providers as the main deliverers of personal care but education, leisure, health and social care services must play their part too, in partnership with each individual with profound and multiple learning disabilities, their family, and those who provide day-to-day support.

The first part of this issue is devoted to articles about how individuals and/or organisations work to ensure that personal care is tailored to meet individuals’ specific requirements. Pleasingly, they reflect on the importance of interactions that show dignity and respect for the individual as well as an awareness that personal care activities can offer so many opportunities for developing independence, thinking, communication and social skills.

Many of the articles relate directly to sensitive aspects of personal care. The editors would like to comment that the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) is designed to protect and empower people who may lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions about their care and treatment. The MCA requires us to presume that everyone over the age of 16 has the capacity to make their own decisions, unless it is proved otherwise. However, where someone has been assessed as lacking capacity, a best interest decision may be made. As laid out in the legislation, it is crucial to encourage the individual’s full participation in the decision-making, including their preferences and views as part of the process, and consulting with family members and those close to them. We encourage readers to become familiar with the principles of the MCA, as it relates to every-day decision-making for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, such as personal care, as well as the bigger issues like moving home, medical treatment, and financial matters.

The second set of articles is an eclectic mix that covers a broad range of equally important aspects of the services that are provided for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, including different approaches to setting up inclusive activities and their supreme value, the importance of having fun and holidays, seeking the views of individuals about their services, community services provided by charities, supporting professionals in dealing with bereavement, and hospital services.

The Summer issue, due out in July, has the theme of Research. For more details see p.25.

Guest editors: Michael Fullerton, Becky Loney, Maureen Phillip, Rob Ashdown and Annie Fergusson.


We would like to draw your attention to PMLD LINK’s appeal for volunteers (see page 2). PMLD LINK needs new volunteers to remain viable. Family members and carers would be especially welcome and PMLD LINK would like to expand its team so that it is more representative of adult social care and health services. The time commitments for volunteers need not be great and there is a buddy system and mentoring for new volunteers. Also, volunteers do not require extraordinary skills; the desirable skills and knowledge are commonplace these days but what is important above all is a commitment to improving the quality of living for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and their families and supporters. Please consider this appeal and offer your help if you can.