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Communication Passports: giving a voice to those with learning disabilities

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Compared to the general population, individuals with learning disabilities face a significant amount of inequality when it comes to accessing health care services, explains Student NT editor Rebecca Hammond.  

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Difficulties in communicating with healthcare professionals is an example of one of the barriers which prevent individuals with learning disabilities from accessing appropriate health care services. 

Digital Communication passports provide the stepping stone in enabling individuals with learning disabilities to communicate their needs and access equality in mainstream health care services.

Communication Passports not only highlight all the health and communication needs of individuals with learning disabilities but also includes their likes/dislikes, interests and the things that are important to them.

This enables individuals to not only deliver themselves to health professionals but allows for person-centered care delivery.

PAMIS (Promoting A More Inclusive Society) developed the digital resource of Communication Passports and have been producing them for many years. The Current focus of PAMIS is to make communication passports the “norm” across all fields of nursing.

“I strongly believe that as nurses, giving individuals with a learning disability a voice is the most precious gift we can give them”

Throughout the courses of other nursing fields, PAMIS will be delivering theoretical components and will be embedding digital communication passports into clinical simulation. This enables all student nurses from all fields to become familiar with communication passports in a safe environment and acquire the knowledge of how communication passports can guide care delivery.

I believe that communication passports are a fundamental way of educating other nursing fields in the health needs of individuals with learning disabilities. In agreement with PAMIS, I also believe that communication passports can help to diminish inequality in accessing services for individuals with learning disabilities.

Particularly, now when service designs are changing in response to the implementation of integration of health and social care services. Digital communication passports can make the transition of services easier for not only for service users but their families.

Gone are the days when information is repeated to professionals. All information will be provided in an individual’s communication passport.

Digital communication passports are the way forward. Not only are they easily accessible and editable but they also give people with learning disabilities a voice that they may have never had heard from professionals.

That is a powerful thing! I strongly believe that as nurses, giving individuals with a learning disability a voice is the most precious gift we can give them.

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