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Learning disabilities week

21 August 2013

Health Care

Coming to hospital can be an anxious time for many people but especially for those patients with learning disabilities.

Southend Hospital offers a range of support to help ease that concern and as part of Learning Disability Awareness week staff have been highlighting the work we do to ensure the experience of coming to hospital is not so daunting.

Learning Disabilities clinical nurse specialist, Sarah Haines, kept patients, staff and visitors up-to-date with an information stand in the outpatients department throughout the week.

Examples of the help available include easy read information on offer throughout the hospital, including easy read food menus and publications on medical procedures like routine tests and screenings.

A hospital passport is offered to each patient with learning disabilities, an important document that allows individuals to record personal information about medication, their likes and dislikes and how they communicate with others, which can assist greatly in their care, and prevent anxiety.

The hospital also offers 'getting to know you' visits where patients can visit the hospital and familiarise themselves with certain areas.

This helps them to become more comfortable with departments they may need to use in the future like phlebotomy and x-ray.

Sarah was joined by health facilitation nurse Paula Pearl from South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (SEPT) and together they handed out information leaflets and answered questions about the specialised care they provide for patients with learning disabilities.

Sarah said: "As this week is Learning Disability Awareness week we took the opportunity to put together this display and be available to answer questions.

"It is essential that we raise awareness of the support we can provide here at Southend for both patients, families, carers and staff as this this will enable us to further  improve the service and experience  for people with learning disabilities."