It is estimated that approximately 2% of the adult population has a learning disability. On average, males with a learning disability die 22 years younger than males from the general population, and females 26 years younger than females from the general population (2021 LeDeR Report). Many of these deaths continue to be from avoidable causes, such as pneumonia and sepsis.
The West of England Learning Disabilities Collaborative (LDC) was established in early 2019, and initially focused on using the National Early Warning Score 2 (NEWS2) and soft-signs tools such as RESTORE2; increasing uptake of annual health checks and flu vaccination, including promoting the nasal vaccine as a reasonable adjustment. After notable successes the West of England LDC ceased in March 2022, with a new and expanded South West Learning Disabilities Collaborative (SWLDC) created to cover the entire South West region.
The expanded collaborative, which is led by the AHSN but funded and delivered in partnership with NHS England South West (NHSE SW), shares learning and best practice across the South West.
Resources and events
Videos – increasing the uptake of Annual Health Checks
In 2021, the West of England AHSN were commissioned by NHSE SW to create a suite of videos to assist healthcare professionals in increasing the uptake of Annual Health Checks for people with a learning disability.
A second suite of videos for people with a learning disability, carers and family members who may want to learn more about the check is also available. A number of the videos feature Misfits Theatre Company. Videos also discuss managing oral health to avoid future complications and how a Health Action Plan can be of benefit.
This project was selected by NHS England as an exemplar case study for the LeDeR 2021-22 Action from Learning Report (see pages 25 and 45).
Caring for residents at risk of deterioration – videos
The West of England AHSN collaborated to produce a series of free videos and e-learning materials to help carers support residents who are at risk of deterioration.
The short training videos are freely available in a YouTube playlist. These introductory films – which have been watched over 1 million times – help spot the signs of deterioration and serious illness such as sepsis.
Each video is around 3-4 minutes each – it will take just over 40 minutes to watch the series.
Free training for carers – RESTORE2
Access free training on how to spot the signs of deterioration in those you care for, and how to escalate concerns to healthcare professionals such as GPs and paramedics using a model called RESTORE2. Training includes options for paid and unpaid carers. Find out what’s available.
Oral healthcare toolkit
A PDF toolkit has been produced by Katy Kerr on behalf of Health Education England, in collaboration with the West of England AHSN and NHSE SW, to provide information on oral health to support the care of people with a learning disability.
Access the PDF oral health guidance.
Access Makaton prompt cards related to dentist appointments.
Acute care toolkit
The Royal College of Physicians have created an acute care toolkit (April 2022). They recommend all staff working in acute medical units read the toolkit, as they will care for people with a learning disability during the course of their day-to-day activities. An Easy Read version of the toolkit is also available to download. Access the toolkit.
Case study: supporting personalised care for people with a learning disability in care homes
The Baywater Telehealth Application has been used on a trial basis across care homes in Gloucestershire to assist staff in spotting the signs of deterioration in residents with a learning disability. Read our Baywater case study.
Virtual collaborative events – webinar recordings
View the recording of the virtual launch of the South West Learning Disabilities Collaborative held on 3 October 2022.
Check out these excellent resources from our colleagues at the Sirona Community Learning Disability Team:
Flu vaccines and reasonable adjustments: videos and resources
On behalf of the NHS, Misfits Theatre Company created a video which tackles the misinformation surrounding the flu vaccination and urges people with a learning disability and their carers (paid or unpaid) to get their flu vaccine.
The company also produced a video on how reasonable adjustments can help people with a learning disability and/or autism live longer and healthier lives. Reasonable adjustments are a legal requirement to make sure health services are accessible to all disabled people. Read more about the nasal vaccine as a reasonable adjustment.
Blogs and articles
A number of blogs and articles have been produced to celebrate the collaborative’s work:
- South West of England Learning Disabilities Collaborative hold successful first online event
- The West of England Learning Disabilities Collaborative: A case study
- Working with the learning disability community to produce annual health check videos
- Co-creation in the West of England Learning Disabilities Collaborative: ‘Done with, not to’
- How our West of England Learning Disabilities Collaborative was formed
- The West of England Learning Disabilities Collaborative: A Year in Review
- Henry’s story: using RESTORE2 to support care home residents with learning disabilities
- What’s the NEWS? Supporting the identification of the deteriorating patient
- A successful start for the West of England Learning Disabilities Collaborative
Sign up to join the SW LDC
Become a member of the collaborative today and you will receive our regular SW LDC newsletter and be the first to know about upcoming events and meetings where you can join in with discussions and share learning and best practice.