The number of people with learning disabilities over the age of sixty is rising, and the numbers of these adults requiring health care for acute and chronic conditions will rise correspondingly.
The White Paper Valuing People: a new strategy for learning disability for the 21st Century (2001) identifies the need “to enable people with learning disabilities to have access to health services designed around their individual needs with fast and convenient care delivered to a consistently high standard and with additional support where necessary.”
This has since been superseded by Valuing People Now: a new three year strategy for learning disabilities. This document includes the commitment that,
“At a national level, there will also be work to ensure that the NHS fully respects the human rights of people with learning disabilities, including the first NHS Constitution setting out the rights and responsibilities of all individuals in relation to the NHS.” - (Department of Health, 2009)
Our committment to people with learning disabilities
At Warrington and Halton Hospitals, we are committed to ensuring equal health care for people with learning disabilities. This includes ensuring that you, as a carer, have the information and support to enable you to participate in making the best decisions for the person you care for.
While the nursing team is competent to provide all care, there may be aspects of the delivery of this care that are difficult, such as anxiety, unfamiliarity, communication problems etc. The ward nurses will work closely with you, family members and friends - as well as the learning disabilities team - to plan and deliver the best care.
What can you do?
There are several things that we actively encourage carers to do:
- If the person you care for is admitted to hospital, it is important that they bring a health passport (if they have one) and that you work with staff to identify the care needs of the patient
- We actively encourage you to request updates from the ward team
- Give us feedback as you will know the patient and their specific needs better
- Ask for the names of the nurses who are looking after the person you care for so you have a point of contact
- If, for any reason, you feel that your views are not being heard or involved you can ask to see the ward manager or the departmental matron. If you feel you need further support and advice you can contact our PALS team. You can read more about PALS here.
There are many resources for carers of people with learning disabilities.
Halton: 01928 580182
Warrington: 01925 644212
Tel: 08000 8500307
Caring with Confidence
A scheme that improves support for carers aged 18 years and over. By participating in free local group sessions, carers can develop caring knowledge and skills. Available at the Carers’ Centre. Travel and alternative care costs are available to help people to attend.
0800 073 3871
Crossroads Caring for Carers
Halton: 01928 577433
Warrington: 01925 655159
Can offer a wide range of advice on spiritual matters. They have access to representatives of most major religions
Tel. 01925 662146
Independent Living Centre
Halton: 01928 582921
Warrington: 01925 240064
Warrington Bereavement Support
Tel. 01925 632516
- http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/CaringForSomeone/index.htm - Direct Gov pages on caring
- http://www.carers.org - The Princess Royal Trust for Carers
- http://www.carersuk.org/Home - The Carers UK website
- http://www.nhs.uk/carersdirect/Pages/CarersDirectHome.aspx - information on NHS Choices
- http://www.crossroads.org.uk/ - provides local support and respite to carers
- http://www.aboutlearningdisabilities.co.uk/becoming-carer-for-adult-with-learning-disability.html - general information on becoming a carer
- http://lgf.org.uk/carers - for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender carers
- http://www.mencap.org.uk/ - Mencap work with people with a learning disability to change laws and services, challenge prejudice and directly support thousands of people to live their lives as they choose.