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Learning Disabilities – We All Have a Role in Improving Health
Recently we went to a workshop put on by the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) and NHS England.
It was about improving the health of people with learning disabilities.
The workshop focussed on making sure that people with learning disabilities could access primary healthcare.
Primary healthcare is the first person that you go and see when you are feeling ill. This is normally your GP, but it might also be a pharmacist, optician or dentist.
We heard about how to increase the uptake and the quality of annual health checks.
Annual health checks are really important because people with learning disabilities are not always good at communicating that something feels wrong or that they are in pain, so a health check is needed to pick up conditions that can be treated.
Annual health checks are also important for people who are a bit nervous about going to the doctors to build a relationship with their GP. Once their GP knows them they will be able to know what is normal for them and what changes could mean that they are ill.
It is difficult for GPs to communicate with people with a learning disability (especially if people are non-verbal) and difficult for GPs to find time for a longer appointment to do a health check properly…
…but this doesn’t mean they should not do them!
It is a human right for people with learning disabilities to have the same standard of healthcare as everybody else.
Annual health checks have been proven to help improve the health of people with learning disabilities. That means we should make sure everyone with a learning disability has an annual health check.
At the workshop, we talked about how it is everybody’s role to make sure people with learning disabilities have an annual health check – whether you are a GP, nurse, family carer, paid support staff or something else.
To help you, NDTi have produced a guide and film all about what social care staff need to know about GP learning disability registers, annual health checks and the Summary Care Record.
You can find the guide here: https://www.ndti.org.uk/resources/publications/better-health-for-people-with-learning-disabilities
Thank you to My Life My Choice for this weeks blog in easy-read format!
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