People have learned to value their health through exercise, proper diet and nutrition, and a healthy lifestyle. However, with the occupation in individual physical health, sometimes those that cannot fend for themselves are neglected and set aside. Consequently, there is a growing concern for people who do not have the capacity to think for themselves—much less care for themselves—and how they can, as Prime Minister Tony Blair puts it (in Department of Health 2001), “lead full and rewarding lives.” More specifically, those who have learning disabilities are propelled to the margins of society as they are deemed to be socially inept and thus, warrants little attention and care (Blair in Department of Health 2001). This sad reality has taken the attention of organizations and governments worldwide and awareness on how people with learning disabilities—those who “function at an intellectual level that is significantly lower than the average level of people in society”–can be properly cared for as they undergo physical pain and given more opportunities to be able to lead normal lives has begun to spread (Thomas, Woods Kingsley 2007). In fact, their vulnerability, social exclusion, and the insensitive behavior, whether unintentional or not, that the majority have towards them have prompted the UK government to create a program that will provide “new opportunities for children and adults with learning disabilities and their families to live full and independent lives as part of their local communities” (Department of Health 2001).The author of this paper realizes this need for awareness on proper care for people with learning disabilities through the management of their pain and it is on this premise that this piece will be written. The various questions about the care given to people with learning disabilities and how they can be answered will be addressed in this paper.
An Appraisal of Qualitative Methods in Pain Management of People with Learning Disabilities