An NHS trust in Doncaster has become to latest to launch an innovative ”passport” scheme to help make care and treatment easier for people with a learning disability.
Together, the Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber (RDaSH) NHS Foundation Trust and Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group, have created a primary health and care passport to help nursing staff provide the right treatment for patients with a learning disability or autism.
“I would encourage every health and care professional working in primary care to make best use of this new tool”
Thanks to the work of a learning disability nurse who led the move, patients at the trust will now receive a passport that provides an overview of the behaviours that they display when they are well.
It will also contain key information based on who the individual is, how they prefer to communicate, what medications they are on and how healthcare professionals know if they are in pain or displaying signs that they may be unwell.
The initiative has been set up to help prevent common questions asked of individuals with a learning disability and/or autism, which can confuse patients if often repeated and can often lead to them not attending or accessing local GP or nurse appointments.
To coincide with the passport launch, a purple wristband has also been developed to help healthcare professionals working in primary care identify and be aware that an individual has a learning disability or autism. This will help to ensure that staff know to read the patients’ passport before an appointment or contact takes place.
“It also supports their carer who will no longer need to repeat key information about the individual they care for”
The passports were created by primary liaison learning disability nurse, Jayne Thompson, along with the health action team at the trust and with support from Louise Darling, a co-trainer and support peer worker who works with the team.
The team hopes that the passports will help to provide a vital patient voice and perspective on what matters to people with a learning disability.
Commenting on the launch, acute liaison nurse and health action team manager, Glynis Smith, said: “Not only does the passport provide key information to help health and care professionals engage more effectively with people that have a learning disability and/or autism, it also supports their carer who will no longer need to repeat key information about the individual they care for.”
GP and clinical lead for learning disabilities and autism at Doncaster CCG, Dr Nick Tupper, said: “It is great news that we now have a dedicated primary health passport for individuals with a learning disability and/or autism across primary care in Doncaster.”
Dr Tupper explained how the passports had been co-created with a number of individuals that have a learning disability.
“I would encourage every health and care professional working in primary care to make best use of this new tool which I know will help improve the care and treatment of many individuals across Doncaster,” he said.
“I know this will really help people to access primary care services, particularly doctors and nurses”
Co-trainer and peer support worker said, Ms Darling, said: “I am so pleased to have been involved in the development of this great new scheme.
“Having a learning disability myself, I know this will really help people to access primary care services, particularly doctors and nurses,” she added.
The launch comes as part of National Learning Disability Awareness Week 2019. The week ties in with a significant milestone for learning disability nurses, who are celebrating 100 years of providing vital care and support to individuals who live with a learning disability.
Marking the anniversary, Nursing Times did a Focus series on learning disability nursing in April: