New resources to help young people with a learning disability and their families have a smoother transition to adult healthcare services have been launched by Mencap and Bradford People First.

The guide, Hospital care for young people with a learning disability, and video aim to provide people and their families with the knowledge and tools they need to help them get the right support and healthcare during this transition.

The resources aim to help them understand their rights, such as asking for reasonable adjustments or meeting with the transitions team or learning disability nurse at the hospital to discuss their move to adult’s health services.

Edel Harris, Chief Executive of the learning disability charity Mencap, said: “People with a learning disability face extra challenges at every point in their life, especially in healthcare. Transitioning from children’s to adult’s health services can be a really difficult time. It often involves going to a new hospital, being treated by new doctors and health workers learning how they can adapt to your specific needs for the first time. These resources will help young people with a learning disability and their families become more confident and relaxed at a time that can be daunting for them.

“We are incredibly grateful to partner with Bradford People First to help bring these resources to the young people and their families who need them. We hope that they will help make a huge difference to the lives of young people with a learning disability and improve their access to healthcare to enable them to lead healthy and happy lives.” 

Young people going through the transition period should be "brave"

The charity says that simple changes in hospital care can be vital for people with a learning disability. This is because having access to the right information at the right time and health workers making reasonable adjustments are fundamental to achieving the best outcomes for people with a learning disability and their whole family.

Saffron Farr-Hoey, who has a learning disability, cerebral palsy and autism, and is featured in the video, said: “I think Mencap’s new resources for young people with a learning disability are very helpful because now people know what to expect. I wish I had something like this when I was at that age because I would have known more about what will happen and I might have been less anxious.

“It’s important for young people with a learning disability to know what they are entitled to. Later down the line they may struggle if they didn’t have the right support from the beginning. What I would say to young people going through the transition period is to be brave. Be prepared for all the changes but it will get better with time.”