Improving care for people with a Learning Disability

As part of 2019 national Learning Disability Awareness Week, a new innovative scheme has been launched in Doncaster, set to make it much easier for people with a learning disability and/or autism to access and receive care and treatment they need across primary care.

Following national success of the Hospital Traffic Light system, Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber (RDaSH) NHS Foundation Trust and Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group have worked in partnership to create a brand new primary health and care passport that is set to provide an overview of each individual, making it easier for health and care professionals to provide the right treatment.

The passport provides an overview of individuals and behaviours they display when they are well. It includes key information based on who the individual is, how they prefer to communicate, what medication they take and how health and care professionals know if the individual is in pain or displaying signs they may be unwell.

The passports have been created by Jayne Thompson, a dedicated primary liaison Learning Disability Nurse and the health action team at RDaSH, along with vital support from Louise Darling, a co trainer who works with the team, providing a vital patient voice and perspective on what matters to people with a learning disability and/or autism.

The passports are set to help prevent common questions asked of individuals with a learning disability and/or autism which are often repeated and can become confusing for the individual. This can often lead to individuals with a learning disability and/or autism not attending or accessing appointments with their local GP or nurse.

A purple wristband has been developed to accompany the passport, making it much easier for health and care professionals working in primary care to be aware that an individual has a learning disability and/or autism, enabling them to read the passport before an appointment or contact takes place.

Glynis Smith Acute Liaison Nurse and Health Action Team Manager at RDaSH said: “I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to launch this new scheme during Learning Disability awareness week.

“Not only does the passport provide key information to help health and care professionals engage more effectively with people that have a learning disability and/or autism, it also supports their carer who will no longer need to repeat key information about the individual they care for.

“We know the traffic light scheme implemented at RDaSH a few years ago is used widely and it is great news that GPs and primary care staff have asked for the approach to be rolled out across health and care services in local communities.”

Dr Nick Tupper, GP and Clinical Lead for Learning Disabilities and Autism, Doncaster CCG said: “It is great news that we now have a dedicated primary health passport for individuals with a learning disability and/or autism across primary care in Doncaster.

“I am particularly pleased that it has been co-created with a number of individuals that have a learning disability. I would encourage every health and care professional working in primary care to make best use of this new tool which I know will help improve the care and treatment of many individuals across Doncaster.”

Louise Darling, Co-Trainer and Peer Support Worker said: “I am so pleased to have been involved in the development of this great new scheme.

“Having a learning disability myself, I know this will really help people to access primary care services, particularly doctors and nurses.”

Learning Disability awareness week 2019 ties in with a significant milestone for Learning Disability nurses who are celebrating 100 years of providing vital care and support to people that live with a learning disability and/or autism. The theme for this year’s awareness week is sport and inclusion.

The latest information and activities taking place to raise awareness of learning disabilities and learning disability nursing can be found by following #LDAWdon.

Watch a short video of how the Learning Disability primary care passport will work.

Watch a short video from Dr Nick Tupper, Clinical Lead for Learning Disabilities and Autism, NHS Doncaster CCG

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