It can be distressing when the people that we care for are ill, especially if they are admitted to hospital. It’s vital that we understand how to get the best out of medical services and know what patients with disabilities are entitled to. The Equality Act states that failure to make a Reasonable Adjustment to a hospital to make it more accessible to a disabled person is unlawful discrimination.
When accessing health services, those with learning disabilities are entitled to adaptations that will make their visit easier. This isn’t just about physical changes to the building. They could include:
– Longer appointment times
– Fast tracking in Emergency Departments or appointments
– Quiet waiting areas
– The opportunity to visit an area before treatment takes place in order to familiarise themselves with the environment
– First or last appointments of the day to minimise waiting times
– Easy Read information
It may also be helpful to have a completed Health Passport, a document that contains vital information about the support needs of a person that you can take with you to hospital or appointments.
You may find it useful to contact your local learning disability community team, who can help you liaise with the GP surgery and help with strategies to make appointments easier. You may also find it useful to contact the learning disability liaison nurse at your local hospital trust. They are usually contactable via the safeguarding team.