A project worker who has learning disabilities is
helping staff at Kettering
to better understand the needs of people with this disability.
Chris Abram, 29, from Wellingborough, joined KGH in
September 2010 as part of an improvement programme to help enhance care for
people with learning disabilities.
The hospital aims to do this by ensuring staff get
real, relevant and inspiring training in how to make a hospital visit less stressful
for people with learning disabilities – training which Chris is heavily
Seventeen months on from his appointment Chris has
successfully worked with staff to develop a learning disability resource pack
for all of KGH’s wards and departments and assisted in learning disability
training sessions by giving his views about the sorts of things staff need to
be aware when caring for people with learning disabilities (LD).
He said: “My experience of hospital has been both good and bad
and I want to help staff to realise why that is.
listened to me well when I was in hospital but the doctor didn’t tell me I
would be dizzy after my operation. Hospital can be a scary place for people
with learning disabilities. You are sleeping somewhere new, your routines are
all changed and some people with learning disabilities need help with things
want to help staff to realise the sorts of things they can do to help patients
with learning disabilities feel better.”
Chris’s first job was to help produce a 26 page
resource pack which has gone to all of the hospital’s wards and departments. It
gives details of the learning disability patient pathway at KGH, key contacts for support,
common issues people with LD face, Mencap guidelines; best practice caring
guidance, a colour coded; a-z of health issues; an assessment tool and
communication symbols to help explain things to people with learning
has also helped with interviews for Mencap project co-ordinators, attended and
spoken at conferences, and attended learning disability training sessions for
staff. He is developing the skills to give parts of the training session
himself. He works one full day a week from 9am-4.30pm and is supported by a
project worker Wendy Tottingham.
Acute Liaison Nurse Marianne Duffy works with Chris,
and staff from across KGH, to develop improved training and improved care
pathways for people with learning disabilities.
She said: “There are several major things we are
doing at KGH to improve care for people with learning disabilities.
“We have established a care pathway for people with
LD which means instead of going from A&E to a busy assessment area like the
Medical Assessment Unit people with LD will go straight to a quieter ward area,
Clifford Ward, where they can receive more personal care in a more relaxed
“Importantly we set in place a training programme
for staff - which Chris has been very actively involved with – to help them to
understand how to make reasonable adjustments to help people with LD to have a
less anxious time in hospital.
“We have also introduced an easy read patient
satisfaction survey - specifically designed for patients with learning
disabilities – which Chris takes to patients and helps them to fill in.”
KGH Deputy Director of Nursing, Leanne Hackshall,
said: “By working hard to make sure that our staff and systems are sensitive to
enough provide excellent care for people with learning disabilities we know we
will be improving care for many of our other patients.
“It’s about staff being aware of the very specific
issues that can affect some people and making sure they go the extra mile to
meet this need.”