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Learning Disability

social farmingTransforming Your Care recognises the importance of providing professional advice, support and information to people who live with, or care for those with a learning disability.

Learning disability was an important focus of the Transforming Your Care consultation process and we received a lot of feedback from people, organisations and service providers about how learning disability services could be developed and improved.

TYC, in general, is a transformation model to improve overall health and well-being, and that includes “person centred” care with the focus on prevention, protection and improved integrated care provision.

We know from research that those living with a learning difficulty have a shorter life expectancy and are at increased risk of premature death, compared with the general population.

We also know how important it is to promote social inclusion in terms of better health and well-being while ensuring that people with a learning disability have access to the same range of services as the general population.

Providing services for people with learning disabilities is therefore not just a health and social care issue.

It requires an integrated approach so that people receive the best advice and support from a wide range of professionals.

Help from Professionals

Such a multi disciplinary approach will typically involve a team of professionals such as:

  • Social workers
  • Learning disability nurses
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Speech and language therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Other Allied Health Professionals.

It also involves Health and Social Care Trusts developing good working relationships with the community/voluntary sector to ensure people receive the right care in the right place at the right time.

What are the Trusts doing?

This is why Trusts are currently focussing on the following work:

  • Early intervention and health promotion
  • A shift to community care based services away from institutions
  • Personalisation of care
  • Resettlement from long stay hospital wards
  • Developing the range of “day opportunities” people can access
  • Service user and carer involvement
  • Advocacy
  • Provision of clearer information
  • Short breaks for people with disabilities and/or their carers.

In practical terms, this means that:

  • The Health and Social Care Board and Trusts continue to work closely with disabled people in the design and implementation of any new services through the Bamford Monitoring Group.
  • GPs are now conducting annual physical and mental wellbeing health checks for adults with learning disabilities (known as a “Directed Enhanced Service”).
  • The Health and Social Care Board and Trusts are reviewing the current provision of day care, day opportunities and short breaks for people with disabilities and/or their carers.
  • The Health and Social Care Board and Trusts are committing to closing long stay hospital wards and to the resettlement process.
  • The Health and Social Care Board and Trusts are developing new information resources for people with learning disabilities so they know where to access support.
  • The Health and Social Care Board and Trusts are developing meaningful advocacy and support for people with learning disabilities.
  • The Health and Social Care Board and Trusts are working closely with the Public Health Agency to ensure that is mainstream health promotion campaigns include people with a learning disability.

By focussing on work of this kind, Trusts are demonstrating their commitment to developing peoples’ choice, control and independence – all of which are key concepts at the heart of Transforming Your Care.

 Useful Links

Departmental Reports (including Equal Lives, the Bamford Report and the Bamford Action Plan)
NI Direct (support for people with learning disabilities)
Day Opportunities Consultation information on the HSC Board website. This consultation ended on Friday 10 January 2014.
Health and Social Care Trusts contact details

Related Pages

Day Opportunities
Mental Health
Self Directed Support

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