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Clinical care and management
J17 Huntington's disease—a training gap for mental health services?
  1. L Johnston,
  2. T Johnston
  1. Ailsa Hospital, Ayr, UK


Background/aims Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder with progressive psychiatric, cognitive and movement impairment. In Ayrshire, a HD Management Clinic was piloted in partnership with the Scottish Huntington's Association. Its introduction appeared to challenge mental health staff's skills in caring for this complex patient group.

Method/techniques After one year, mental health service staff were audited to assess the awareness of the new HD Management Clinic. A questionnaire was sent to a cross-section of mental health service staff within Ayrshire to evaluate their knowledge, experience and training needs with respect to HD.

Results/outcome One year on, 49% of charge nurses and team leaders (return rate 35%) within mental health service staff in Ayrshire were unaware of the HD Management Clinic. More than 50% thought their management and care of patients with HD had identified training needs in core aspects of this disease. Most (98%) felt their knowledge was not up to date with recent developments in HD and 100% felt they would value more information on the HD Management Clinic and would like to see it continue.

Conclusions Results identify a clear need for increased awareness and widespread formal training/information sessions regarding HD services and management among local mental health service staff. Future goals include the implementation of evaluative training sessions for staff.

  • Huntington's disease
  • mental health services

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