Top Tips for caring for a person with a learning disability in hospital

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The Nurses/Doctors/Consultants should be aware of the following:

TOP TIPS FOR CARING FOR A PERSON WITH A LEARNING DISABILITY IN HOSPITAL

Beware of missing serious Illness Don’t ignore important medical symptoms by assuming they are part of the persons disability

Be more suspicious that the patient may have a more serious Illness and take action quickly

Find out the best way to communicate

Ask family, carer, friends or support worker for help, not everyone uses speech some people uses signs and symbols as well as speech Listen to Family and Carers The way your patient communicates may be complex, they can interpret signs or behaviours that may indicate stress or pain.

Don’t make assumptions about a person’s qualify of life They are likely to be enjoying a fulfilling life

Be clear on the law about capacity to consent When people lack capacity you are required to act in their best interests ASK FOR HELP Remember Mental Capacity Act Ask for Help - Staff from the Community Learning Disability Team can help.

Remember the Disability Discrimination Act It requires you to make ‘Reasonable Adjustments’ so you may have to do some things differently to achieve the same health outcome.

SEVEN STEPS TO SUPPORTING PATIENTS WITH A LEARNING DISABILITY

  1. Ensure ‘Patient Assessment Flow Chart’ has been followed
  2. Ask the person with a Learning Disability FIRST
  3. Obtain wherever possible  all healthcare records
  4. Ensure Specialist Assessment Form (SAF) is completed within 24hrs of admission
  5. Speak to family/carer for  support and guidance about care needs for patient
  6. Link with your Learning  Disability link nurse for support and leadership
  7. Refer to Learning  Disability Awareness Pack for information and resources

 

This advice was taken from Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust