Quality statement 2: Assessment by a professional with relevant expertise

Quality statement

People with learning disabilities who need a mental health assessment are referred to a professional with expertise in mental health problems in people with learning disabilities.

Rationale

The mental health assessment should be conducted by a professional with expertise in mental health problems in people with learning disabilities. This ensures that the assessment and subsequent care is effective and tailored to the person's individual needs and circumstances, and makes reasonable adjustments to take account of their learning disabilities.

Quality measures

Structure

Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that people with learning disabilities who need a mental health assessment are referred to a professional with expertise in mental health problems in people with learning disabilities.

Data source: Local data collection.

Process

a) Proportion of people with learning disabilities who need a mental health assessment and are referred to a professional with expertise in mental health problems in people with learning disabilities.

Numerator – the number in the denominator who are referred to a professional with expertise in mental health problems in people with learning disabilities.

Denominator – the number of people with learning disabilities who need a mental health assessment.

Data source: Local data collection.

b) Proportion of people with learning disabilities who are referred for a mental health assessment and are assessed by a professional with expertise in mental health problems in people with learning disabilities.

Numerator – the number in the denominator who are assessed by a professional with expertise in mental health problems in people with learning disabilities.

Denominator – the number of people with learning disabilities who are referred for a mental health assessment.

Data source: Local data collection.

Outcome

Identification of mental health problems in people with learning disabilities.

Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for different audiences

Service providers (secondary care providers, mental health services and specialist learning disabilities services) ensure that people with learning disabilities who need a mental health assessment are referred to a professional with expertise in mental health problems in people with learning disabilities.

Health and social care practitioners with expertise in mental health problems in people with learning disabilities conduct mental health assessments for people with learning disabilities. At the assessment, the professional completes a formal mental health assessment questionnaire.

Commissioners (clinical commissioning groups, NHS England and local authorities) commission services that ensure that people with learning disabilities who need a mental health assessment are referred to a professional with expertise in mental health problems in people with learning disabilities.

People with learning disabilities who need a mental health assessment are referred to a professional who has the skills to do this for people with learning disabilities and mental health problems. If possible, this should be carried out in a place familiar to the person, with any family members, carers, care workers or others that they want to involve. If needed, staff should help the person with learning disabilities to prepare for the assessment.

Source guidance

Mental health problems in people with learning disabilities: prevention, assessment and management (2016) NICE guideline NG54, recommendation 1.8.1

Definition of terms used in this quality statement

Mental health assessment

The assessment should include a review of the person's previous history (both physical and mental health) and personal circumstances. This is essential when assessing the person's mental health problem and developing a mental health care plan. A formal assessment questionnaire should be completed as part of the assessment.

[Adapted from mental health problems in people with learning disabilities (NICE guideline NG54), recommendations 1.8.1 and 1.8.6]

Equality and diversity considerations

Healthcare professionals should take into account the communication needs of people with learning disabilities when conducting a mental health assessment. They should make reasonable adjustments for people accessing mental health services, and provide support if needed for people who have limited or no speech or who have difficulty with English.

Communication with the person and their family members, carers or care workers (as appropriate) needs to be in a clear format and in a language suited to the person's needs and preferences.