Understanding and responding to pain in people with learning disabilities


How do staff and family carers recognise when somebody they support is in pain and what emotional impact does this have on them?

Here, Nick Burton looks at a small scale qualitative study, which set out to explore this issue for some paid carers and family carers.

[read the full story...]

Health surveillance, prevention and protection activities for people with learning disabilities could be increased

good_health_shutterstock_243780121 (2)

Health inequalities experienced by people with learning disabilities are well documented in the literature.

Here, in her debut blog, Sarah Richardson looks at the results of a survey of community learning disability nurses regarding their role in implementing public health policies, focusing on health prevention and protection.

[read the full story...]

Using actors with learning disabilities during training to improve doctors’ communication and diagnostic skills


Poor communication between people with learning disabilities, their carers and health professionals has been cited as an element of the explanation of health inequalities faced by people with learning disabilities.

In his debut blog, Tom Crossland looks at one study which used actors with learning disabilities as ‘standardised patients’ in the training of medical students in order to see if this might improve communication and diagnostic skills.

[read the full story...]

Bridging The Health Gap. An incentivised Scheme for Primary Care GP’s

Health information

People with learning disabilities experience health inequalities compared to the general population, compounded by the number of health related problems thye may have related to having a learning disability.

Here, in her debut blog, Tara Quinn-Cirillo adds her reflections to an assessment of this incentivised scheme.

[read the full story...]

Hand held health records increased awareness of health issues but no evidence of improvements in short-term health care activity

The incentivised scheme was introduced in England in 2008-09 to encourage annual GP health checks

Health Action Planning was advocated in the 2001 White Paper and hospital passports are becoming accepted practice. But what impact are they having on outcomes for people with learning disabilities?

Here Alison Giraud Saunders looks at a systematic review of published research on health records held by people with learning disabilities which looks at this question.

[read the full story...]

Managing the care of adults with Down syndrome

RCGP annual health check guidance

Down syndrome is the most common cause of learning disability in the UK and life expectancy has shown a dramatic increase in the last fifty years. However, people with Down syndrome face significant health issues.

In this blog, GP Matt Hoghton looks at a recent clinical review published in the BMJ, which provides advice and guidance on managing care and support for people with Down syndrome.

[read the full story...]

Six out of ten GP surgeries are signed up to the Directed Enhanced Scheme in England, but 40% of patients with learning disabilities did not get a health check

getting_it_right_Healthcare 258x196(1)

The Directed Enhanced Scheme offers reimbursement to GP surgeries to carry out annual health checks for people with learning disabilities. Here, we report on a cohort study which looked at the impact of the scheme over a three year period.

[read the full story...]

Health Professionals’ views on care pathways for adults with learning disabilities

pieces_shutterstock_155609561 (2)

The health inequalities of people with learning disabilities are well documented in the literature, with increased risks for many physical and sensory health issues as well as mental health issues and responses from health services have often been poor, as documented in the Michael Report. In recent years, the healthcare pathways approach has been introduced [read the full story…]

Vulnerabilities of people with learning disabilities continue to compromise their safety in NHS hospitals

Good quality healthcare

Background A number of reports in recent years have highlighted concerns about the treatment of patients with learning disabilities in NHS hospitals, highlighting poor communication, incorrect assumptions about quality of life and poor understanding by healthcare professionals putting people at continued risk of poor care – and even death. In 2008, the publication of the [read the full story…]

Atlas maps health of adults with learning disabilities in Ontario, Canada

health care atlas

Background We have posted extensively about the current state of knowledge around the health care needs of people with learning disabilities and the nature of the responses by UK health providers. The Mencap Getting it Right campaign launched after the publication of Death by Indifference’, aims to support local campaigners, health professionals, GP surgeries, hospitals [read the full story…]