Breaking bad news to people with learning disabilities and dementia

Irene Tuffrey-Wijne, Karen Watchman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


People with learning disabilities are now enjoying a longer life expectancy than ever before as a result of enhanced medical and social interventions and improved quality of life. Some, particularly individuals with Down’s syndrome, are susceptible to dementia at a significantly younger age than the average age of onset in the rest of the population. Currently, there is limited guidance on how to talk to people with learning disabilities about dementia and, until such information is shared, individuals cannot be positioned as an authority on their own condition. The new model presented here suggests a way of supporting staff and families to have enabling conversations about dementia that centre on the person’s current situation, level of understanding and capacity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-23
Number of pages8
JournalLearning Disability Practice
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2015


  • learning disability
  • breaking bad news
  • communication
  • dementia
  • disclosure
  • Down's syndrome
  • intellectual disability


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