Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Learning Disability Liaison Nurses: Transforming NHS patient care for now

Specialist learning disability liaison nurse Jainab Desai is making meticulous checks of the complex arrangements to receive a tricky patient with learning disabilities, with staff of the day surgery unit at Royal Bolton hospital.

She has worked for weeks with staff, family and carers of the profoundly disabled and terrified woman (who needs a vascular procedure).

This is to make sure that the patient will not freak at the entrance to the operating theatre, forcing the cancellation of the operation.

At any time Desai could be co-ordinating the care of up to six people with learning disabilities at Royal Bolton hospital.

This is set to rise as researchers predict that the numbers of people with learning disabilities in the UK will increase by 14% between 2001 and 2021.

They are also 58 times more likely to die aged under 50, often of preventable causes.

The fight to get specialists such as Desai into integrated posts in acute settings has been hard won. She was already in post in 2007 when Mencap's explosive report Death By Indifference, highlighted the cases of six people with learning disabilities believed to have died unnecessarily as a result of receiving worse healthcare than people without learning disabilities. She was a rare breed at the time.

Sir Jonathan Michael's report, Healthcare for All (2008) added fuel to Mencap's campaign by identifying gaps between the law, policy and the delivery of effective services for people with learning disabilities.
Since then progress has been made – 79% of acute settings have a nurse appointed to this kind of role – but there is concern that these roles will be sacrificed in the scramble to reorganise the NHS against a background of service cuts.

Mencap's report earlier this year (74 Deaths And Counting), reveals continued institutional discrimination in the NHS towards people with a learning disability.

The Royal College of Nursing's nursing advisor for learning disabilities, Ann Norman, already knows of cuts to at least four UK's consultant nurse roles (of around 35).

An RCN survey of 500 disability nurses in May showed that three out of four were experiencing cuts in services. Reports from primary care echo this. Norman says: "We are having to run to keep up, to protect frontline services."

How learning disability liaison nurses are transforming patient care | Healthcare Network | Guardian Professional

No comments:

Post a Comment