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Successes and Challenges in the Implementation of Care Pathways in an Intellectual Disability Service: Health Professionals' Experiences

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Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities

Published online on


Healthcare pathways are a relatively new approach to delivering care in intellectual disability services. The authors endeavored to ascertain and explore successes and challenges in the implementation of care pathways in a National Health Service adult intellectual disability service in Leicestershire, UK. Data were obtained from a variety of sources including observations of multidisciplinary team meetings, issue logs, and feedback from health professionals. Constant comparative analysis identified 10 themes: communication between health professionals; clarity and dissemination of relevant documentation; multidisciplinary working; role of health professionals; role of administrative staff; locality differences; information technology systems; care pathway procedures; attitudes toward care pathways; and impact on clients. It was found that a new implementation of care pathways approach to service delivery in the healthcare setting can be challenging for health professionals. Some of the challenges were generic to service change and could be addressed through careful and organized preplanning of the implementation process. Others, such as organizational culture and attitudes within the organization, were contextual and may be unique to each service and warrant significant advance consideration when attempting implementation.