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Getting it right

We wanted to show you some of the great work that Trust staff are doing to improve the experience of patients with learning disabilities, through adjustments in clinical care, the use of tools to enable good communication and evaluations which will provide evidence of the progress being made.

Getting it right

EKHUFT has signed up to Mencap’s ‘getting it right’ charter, which sets out how hospital staff should ensure that patients with a learning disability experience a high standard of care that meets their needs. 

By signing the charter the Trust has pledged to:

  • make sure that hospital passports are available and used 
  • make sure that all our staff understand and apply the principles of mental capacity laws 
  • appoint a learning disability liaison nurse in our hospital(s) 
  • make sure every eligible person with a learning disability can have an annual health check 
  • provide ongoing learning disability awareness training for all staff 
  • listen to, respect and involve families and carers 
  • provide practical support and information to families and carers 
  • provide information that is accessible for people with a learning disability 
  • display the Getting it right principles for everyone to see. 

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Carers Checklist

The Carers Checklist is a simple assessment tool that staff on Cheerful Sparrows Male have developed as a result of a complaint from the relative of a patient with learning disabilities. The tool is designed to enable ward staff and carers/ care workers work together through gauging the level of care required by the patient and sharing roles and responsibilities. 

The completion of the tool also highlights possible gaps in care, enabling NHSP staff to be requested in good time. 

This tool has now become a standard for new admissions. Its unique selling point is its simplicity and the little time it takes to complete.

Since the introduction of the tool patients and carers have commented that it has enhanced care and crucially has had a positive impact on both formal and informal complaints.

Penelope Young, Ward Manager, Cheerful Sparrows Male

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Adjustments to care – a patient story

Improved working relationships with the acute Trust and Shepway Learning Disabilities Team have improved outcomes for patients with
learning diffi culties. 

Working with patients with learning disabilities can often be a challenging but rewarding experience, as the innovations are really
person centred and often save money too. 

For one lady where palliative care was being considered due to in part to poor nutritional intake, the combination of home visits for meal
times, stimulation via DVDs and education of ward staff, led to a staged discharge and now the lady is flourishing in the community without any further readmission.

In another case through working with Ambulatory Care to provide blood tests, weights and regular CT scans, the individual was able to avoid a distressing and expensive admission to hospital.

Another individual was extremely anxious about coming to hospital for an MRI scan, so arrangements were made for sedation via the GP
in the community then excellent support was provided to enable the patient to remain relaxed from the Gastroscopy team.

Lastly, we have made arrangements for individuals coming in for elective surgery to have other screening procedures completed while
under anaesthetic. 

These adjustments to patient care have come through collaboration and working together on a problem and would not have been possible without the support of the local Community Learning Disability Teams

David Popple, Matron

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Easy to Read Menu

Medirest is pleased to announce that easy to read menus are now available at Kent & Canterbury and William Harvey hospitals, with
QEQM to follow later this year. 

This project was prompted by the Pacesetters easy read menu piloted successfully for people with learning disabilities. Medirest was pleased to be able to contribute to this project and take the reins, designing our own for not only people with learning disabilities, but
also people who may not speak the language or who have dementia or have had a stroke. 

The menus have now been delivered to the nursing staff on each ward for them to identify those people who will most benefi t from their
use.

Nick Gale and Daniel Marsden

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My Healthcare Passport

In September 2010 ninety people attended a public engagement event in Canterbury about improving communication for people with learning disabilities in hospital (the report can be found on the Valuing People webpage). This group said that a patient passport – a patient owned care plan relating to the way an individual communicates and ways to engage the individual in their healthcare choices – would be an effective way of enabling staff to deliver equitable and person centred care.

In line with Mencap’s ‘Getting it Right’ Charter, the Trust began a project to develop its own passport with help from a multi stakeholder group. 

The My Healthcare Passport project was excited to hear this week that it has been awarded funding by the Trust Charity for the design and
printing of the passport ready for launch in the Autumn.

Progress on this piece of work can be followed on Improving Communication webpages.

Daniel Marsden

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Project Search Research

With the Project Search Interns graduation occurring next week, early findings show that staff believe that working with people with learning disabilities will help with looking after patients with learning disabilities in the future. With national and local evidence saying that hospital staff do not often get to meet people with learning disabilities when they are well, we thought it would be important to study whether having the interns working at QEQM would have any affect on staff attitudes to caring for patients with learning disabilities.

A questionnaire was developed by Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion and sent out to all the placements at QEQM. The
questionnaire produced a good response, and will help us with some interviews with staff in July. Once this is complete a report will be
available in the Autumn.

Daniel Marsden

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