Two new easy read guides have been produced by the NHS to help people with learning disabilities and autism better understand and access health information.

The guides were funded by Health Education England and produced by NHS Knowledge and Library Services in partnership with people with lived experience. 

Information about your rights as a patient and what you can ask for during your appointment

The first guide, Get ready to talk about your health, explains how to prepare for a consultation with a health or care provider.

It contains important advice and guidance for patients. For example, it recommends that you set reminders for appointments and ask for extra time ahead of the consultation. 

It also provides information about your rights and what you can ask for as a patient, including:

  • information in different formats;
  • help to understand information provided;
  • and support with transport arrangements to get to and from appointments.

Making sure people understand they have a choice about their health and care

The second guide, 3 questions for health, provides useful information about how to have better talks with healthcare professionals (including GPs, nurses, healthcare assistants, consultants and mental health professionals).

The producers of the guide worked with experts by experience and a representative from NICE in order to adapt the NICE shared decision-making guidance into an easy read format.

The main emphasis is making sure people understand they have a choice about their health and care. The questions are:

  • What are my choices?
  • What is good and bad about my choices?
  • Can I get support to help me make my choices?

Enabling people with learning disabilities and autism to have better health conversations

While the guides have been designed for people with learning disabilities, NHS Knowledge and Library Services say they are also very useful to professionals, as they can help to teach doctors and nurses about the needs of people with disabilities and other additional needs.

Ruth Carlyle, Head of Knowledge and Library Services, HEE said: “It is so important we enable people with learning disabilities and autism to have better health conversations and participate in the choices and management of their own health. This piece of work is a start to that process.

“I am confident these leaflets and the videos will be welcomed by the health and care professions as well as patients. Although these leaflets are produced in easy read, the content and format will help anyone who struggles with health literacy.  It is also useful for those who might struggle to comprehend a health diagnosis.

“It has been an enjoyable process to produce these documents with the talented group of experts by experience and I hope we will work together on other projects soon”.

 

Both guides are available to download and print. NHS Knowledge and Library Services are now working to produce the information in video format, with the aim of making it available later this year.