Good healthcare for all is clearly set out and packed full of accessible advice about the services the NHS provide. It includes information about how to acquire a “Health Action Plan” for use in doctor’s appointments and advises on the extra help available to makes stays in hospital less stressful and problematic. It also makes the reader aware of several organisations such as The Patient Advice and Liaison Service that can help change the decisions of medical professionals if it’s in the best interests of the patient.
Consultant at the Foundation, Alison Giraud-Saunders explains: “Health care systems can be confusing and stressful for anyone and it is difficult to know what extra help you can get if you are disabled. We hope that this new resource will prove a real help to people with learning disabilities, their families and supporters, and make a significant difference to their experiences of the NHS.”
The booklet provides several case examples to help put the information into context, and also has easy-to-follow advice that addresses many common issues patients face. One such issue is communication; this can be a problem for both the patient and the healthcare professional, particularly as many medical staff have to liaise with agency support workers that are not familiar with the patient. To address this issue, the guide suggests the use of a “hospital passport” which can list the specific needs of the patient clearly so that the hospital can make appropriate arrangements.
One of the many problems created by the huge workloads of medical staff is that patients find they are not being made aware of anything other than the basic standard of care. Ultimately this can affect their experience of the service. Good healthcare for all provides a solution by concisely explaining the rights and expectations of patients, and in doing so it instils in the reader a sense of confidence and clarity.
When it comes to people with learning disabilities, who may have more complex needs than others, this guide is an incredibly useful tool. It is an excellent resource to make people aware of what services and organisations are available and encourage them, and their carers, to seek out the specialist care they are entitled to.
To download and read the "Good Healthcare for all guide" go to, http://www.learningdisabilities.org.uk/publications/176171/
Written by Jasmine Kluge