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Warwickshire nurses develop care pathway for learning disabilities

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Community nurses in Warwickshire have developed a care pathway for older children with learning disabilities to aid their transition into adult services.

Rebecca Turner, a community nurse with the learning disability team at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, has created a “transitional care pathway” to aid service continuity for patients and provide a smoother process for clinicians to follow.

The trust said its previous practice had “flaws which could create stress for the young people” due to “lack of clarity and uncertainty over future placements”.

For example, adults with a learning disability attended their GP practice to have a health screen and action plan completed – in line with national guidelines intended to tackle high rates of unmet health needs for those with learning disabilities – but this was not available for young people.

As a result, Ms Turner and colleagues in Warwickshire piloted health screening at a local school for statemented young people aged 17 to 18 years old. It has proved to be successful and is set to continue across all schools in the area.

A need was also identified for training for the students around the transitional care pathway. As a result Ms Turner, along with fellow community nurse Anita Murphy, developed a training programme called CHAT (Choice, Health and Transition), which covers topics including body awareness, personal hygiene, personal safety and stress management.

It was well received when delivered to a group of students and the trust said it intended to be rolled out to other schools in due course.

Sarah Warmington, general manager for learning disability services at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, praised Ms Turner’s work.

She said: “What Rebecca has created is a truly fantastic piece of work. In time we believe this care pathway for young adults will bridge the gap that currently exists in the service.”

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