#WeLDNs - Tuesday 30th November 2021 8:30pm (GMT Standard Time) Accessing acute services

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Admission to hospital can be a scary or worrying time for anyone. But for someone with learning disabilities this comes with increased complexities. Bright, clinical areas, beeping machines and complex medical terms can be extremely overwhelming, especially if local funding or covid rules mean that your family/ carer can’t be with you throughout admission.

The acute liaison role has grown over the years with more and more hospitals employing at least one learning disability nurse. The role varies between settings with similarities such as supporting an individual and their families/ carers, ensuring equal access to healthcare thus improving experience, delivering training for hospital staff as well as strategic and operational tasks. 

The Annual LeDeR report time after time highlights the need for these specialist nurses to be within all acute settings, backed up by the commitment made in the NHS Long Term Plan for reasonable adjustments to be made for all people with learning disabilities to reduce health inequalities. 

The learning disability improvement standards highlight key support which should be available for someone with learning disabilities to ensure equal access to healthcare. The corresponding benchmarking project explores these themes annually with more Trusts signing up to take part in the data collection. 

The hospital passport is a key document championed by many learning disability nurses containing vital information about the individual. It should be used in conjunction with discussion with the patient and those who know them best. But are we still seeing issues with staff not familiarising themselves with the hospital passport, numerous versions with different information causing confusion? 

In 2013 we held a chat on access to acute services, 8 years on we want to revisit the topic to explore if things have changed, discuss current best practice and share current experiences.

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