The circumstances and impact of injuries on adults with learning disabilities

Janet Finlayson*, Jillian Morrison, Dawn Ann Skelton, Claire Ballinger, Dipali Mantry, Alison Jackson, Sally-Ann Cooper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


People with learning disabilities experience higher rates of injury compared to the general population, but little is known about the circumstances and perceived impact of these injuries on people with learning disabilities themselves.

Content analysis was conducted from interviews with 113 adults with learning disabilities who had at least one injury in a 12-month period. Qualitative interviews were conducted with ten adults with learning disabilities (and their carers where appropriate) who had experienced serious or frequent injury or frequent falls with or without injury in a 12-month period.

The most commonly reported contributory factors for injuries and/or falls were related to physical health status (for example, epilepsy) and the environment (for example, walking/banging into furniture or stairs/steps). In terms of perceived impact, the development of fear of walking outdoors unsupported or fear of crossing a road were highlighted. The non-use and misuse of assistive technology was also highlighted as a concern.

These findings demonstrate that occupational therapists have a key role to play in tailoring injury and fall prevention strategies and interventions for people with learning disabilities. In particular, environmental assessment and monitored use of assistive technology is important.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-409
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2014


  • learning disabilities
  • injuries
  • interviews


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