Referrals to a learning disability social work team 1996 to 2005

Aine Morrison, David Bickerstaff, Brian J Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Downloads (Pure)


In order to understand better the needs of clients and to inform the delivery ofservices, referrals to the North Belfast Learning Disability Social Work Team between1 January 1996 and 31 December 2005 were studied. The documentary analysis of all252 referrals during the 10-year period included referral books, social work files andthe electronic client-based system Soscare. There were increases in referrals withrecorded autism and in those aged 18–25, and high levels of recorded behaviouraldifficulties. There were low levels of recorded visual impairment, hearing impairmentand mental health problems. Twenty-one per cent of referrals were likely to have beendiagnosed with a learning disability at age 16 or over. Child referrals showed a broadspectrum of identified need whereas adult referrals were predominantly identified asneeding daytime occupation. There was an increase in the team caseload from 364 to489 over the period caused by the number of referrals exceeding the number ofclosures every year except 1997. We recommend a greater focus on health status insocial work assessments, a review of case management practice and greater inclusionof ‘newly diagnosed’ adolescents and adults in service planning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-174
JournalBritish Journal of Learning Disability
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Sept 2010


  • Assessed need
  • people with learning disabilities
  • referral
  • social work
  • decision making


Dive into the research topics of 'Referrals to a learning disability social work team 1996 to 2005'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this