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Caring for the Unique Needs of I/DD Patients: Celebrating this Specialty Area of Nursing During National Nurses Month

May 4, 2023

Nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system, and during National Nurses Month, we take time to recognize and celebrate their incredible work. However, there is one group of nurses whose work often goes unnoticed despite their crucial role in the healthcare system – Intellectual and Developmental Disabilites (I/DD) registered nurses.

These unsung heroes work tirelessly to provide person-centered care for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, adapting their approach to fit the unique needs and preferences of each patient. Nurses’ unwavering dedication and compassion make them an integral part of the healthcare system, and we can’t overlook their contribution during this special month of celebration.

So, let’s take a moment to honor and recognize the vital role of I/DD nurses in providing exceptional care to the unique I/DD population.

The Day-to-Day Work of I/DD Nurses

I/DD nurses are responsible for a diverse range of duties and responsibilities that help to ensure the health and well-being of their patients. Unlike other nurses, their work involves providing specialized, person-centered care that goes beyond traditional healthcare.

One of the primary responsibilities of I/DD nurses is to develop and implement individualized care plans for their patients. This involves taking the time to understand each person’s unique needs and working with them and their families to develop a plan that meets those needs.

I/DD nurses also provide a wide range of services, including administering medications, monitoring vital signs, and assisting with activities of daily living. They work closely with other healthcare professionals to ensure that their patients receive comprehensive care, and they are often an integral point of contact for families when they have questions or concerns.

Perhaps most importantly, I/DD nurses provide emotional support to their patients and their families. Living with an intellectual and/or developmental disability can be challenging, and I/DD nurses are there to provide a compassionate lifeline of care and support that helps their patients to thrive.

“As clinicians, it’s our job to find the right solution to every challenge when overseeing the delivery of care for Individuals,” explains Dr. Sindiswa Akinbo, Director of Nursing, ILA.

 Dr. Sindiswa Akinbo, ILA Nursing Director

The Impact of I/DD Nurses on the Community

The work of I/DD nurses extends beyond individual patients and their families, making a significant impact on the community as a whole. Through their dedication and high quality care, I/DD nurses improve the overall quality of life for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.

I/DD nurses work to ensure that their patients are able to participate fully in their communities, helping to break down barriers and increase access to healthcare, community resources, and other essential services. They advocate for their patients’ rights and empower them to make informed decisions so they have a voice in their own care.

“Nurses and agencies cannot function without teamwork,” Dr. Akinbo says. “At ILA, our biggest goal is to make sure ILA’s Individuals continue to receive the exemplary care they so richly deserve.”

In addition to their work with individual patients, I/DD nurses like Dr. Akinbo also play a critical role in shaping healthcare policy and practice. Through research, education, and advocacy, they work to improve the quality of care for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and to promote a more inclusive, compassionate healthcare system. “Enforcing policies and procedures is essential in our field so people can be held accountable for their behavior. With those in place, you can never go wrong,” Dr. Akinbo points out.

The impact of I/DD nurses cannot be overstated. By providing essential care and support to individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, they help to create a more just, equitable, and compassionate society for everyone.

 Ray Anderson, ILA Nursing Coordinator

Celebrating the Incredible Work of Nurses

As we celebrate National Nurses Month and National Nurses Week, it’s important to take a moment to recognize the incredible work of nurses, especially I/DD nurses. Their tireless dedication, compassion, and commitment make a profound difference in the lives of their patients and in the healthcare system as a whole.

In recent years, more than ever, we have seen the critical role that nurses play in our society. They have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing care and comfort to those in need and going above and beyond to keep our communities, residences, and programs safe.

At ILA, we are grateful for every nurse’s hard work and unwavering dedication to our Individuals. So let’s take a moment to celebrate our nurses and give them a tremendous shout-out for their outstanding work and endless contributions to ILA’s Culture of Caring. They are truly invaluable, as we continue to fulfill our mission to provide the very best care to the many Individuals who call ILA home. Happy National Nurses Month and National Nurses Week to this crucial part of our ILA team!

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