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The importance of promoting healthy sleep for adults with complex needs

A new training programme for health and social care professionals aims to give an understanding of how sleep can affect the mental health and wellbeing of adults in social care settings with complex needs.

24/01/23

The importance of promoting healthy sleep for adults with complex needs

A charity is launching a new training course to provide health and social care professionals in a variety of settings with skills to support and promote healthy sleep in adults with complex needs.

The training, run by Sleep Scotland, will apply cognitive and behavioural approaches in tailored interventions for a range of sleep issues.

The training programme is aimed at health and social care professionals, including social workers, specialist nurses, residential workers, and occupational therapists, working with adults with complex needs.

“I've seen first-hand the number of adults who experience challenges with sleeping and the positive impact tailored sleep interventions can have on their mental health,” Rhona Harkness, Sleep Scotland Lecturer and Director at The Centred OT Practice said.

Ahead of the launch, the charity invited a multidisciplinary group of health and social care professionals to be part of a pilot training group. "The training has been extremely valuable to me as a Liaison Nurse and the families and service users I support,” one delegate said.

“Sleep Counselling for Adults has given me the knowledge and skills to assist with sleep difficulties and practical solutions to improving sleep. It also helped me to understand the multi-faceted approaches needed when devising a sleep intervention for adults with complex needs."

The training equips health and social care professionals with a thorough understanding of the range of sleep issues that adults with complex needs may experience.

Another member of the pilot group described how sleep is fundamental, especially for adults living with additional support needs: “We as professionals working with adults with a learning disability need to be able to identify when someone is experiencing difficulties with their sleep and then have the knowledge and skills to effectively work alongside this person, their families, and carers to help them improve their sleep.”

“Through this, we are teaching skills for life, following evidence-based practice, and addressing a core issue instead of ‘firefighting’ the often-negative consequences of poor sleep over many years.”

Head of Sleep Services for Sleep Scotland, Martyna Jabłońska said having trained Sleep Counsellors within adult services could be a valuable asset.

“Sleep Counsellors have demonstrated how vital their work is in the paediatric space. As a result, their positive impact has driven demand for training to support adults. Sleep Scotland has a huge depth of experience delivering highly sought-after training for professionals working with young people, so we are delighted to be able to extend the training we offer to those working with adults.”

The training features a mix of online learning and interactive live sessions, alongside practical training, case studies and assessments designed to support participants to apply cognitive and behavioural principles to managing sleep problems in adults with additional support needs and to plan and run a sleep counselling service within their workplace.

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