stethoscopeA new health toolkit, written and developed by a team of nurses that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities on a day-to-day basis has been launched. 

The toolkit, launched by Turning Point, is a comprehensive guide to ensuring people with learning disabilities are safe and well. It also aims to improve the knowledge, skills and confidence of staff in advocating and monitoring the healthcare needs of people with learning disabilities. 

It is divided into six sections, the first four being relevant to all workers who want to gain a greater understanding of how to best look after people in care. Later sections focus on particular illnesses or conditions to give support staff a more acute understanding of these problems.

Fiona Ritchie, managing director for learning disability at Turning Point, said: “When we work with people with learning disabilities who are non-verbal it can be difficult at times for support workers, health staff and others to know when people are poorly, because individuals might not tell us in a way that is obvious.

“The development of this toolkit is to aid those working with people who have learning disabilities to think proactively about people’s health and support individuals to lead a fulfilled life in good health. We hope this toolkit will do just that, and are making it available to the wider health and learning disability community to utilise.”

Karen Hibell, a learning disability nurse at Turning Point who helped develop the toolkit, added: “This toolkit has been developed to highlight early warning signs to enable workers to support people to access their GP earlier. This will help to avoid hospital admissions, escalation of health issues and support individuals to be as healthy as possible.”

The toolkit can be downloaded here