Learning Disabilities Nursing


The Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland: QNIS learning disability animation

Not all professionals (for example, those in Police Scotland and criminal justice social work) can identify an individual who has a learning disability (LD), so necessary support – including reasonable adjustments – may not be available. An accessible resource, “Think COULD”, was developed to reduce health inequalities by raising the profile of LD nursing and people with an LD who may access criminal justice services.

After engaging with stakeholders – including people with lived experience – to gain insight into the resources available, Queen’s Nurses designed an animation that invited people to answer the question: ‘Could this person have an LD?’ The animation has been included in national Police Scotland training


Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust: Annual health checks in secondary care: improving uptake and quality

This project aimed to increase awareness and uptake of annual health checks (AHCs) in 14-17-year-olds with a learning disability, set up pathways to ensure their access to AHCs and health action plans (HAPs). It improved HAP quality, targeted vulnerable and minoritised communities, and helped primary care make sure reasonable adjustments were recorded and shared. AHCs were embedded into education, health and care plan transition reviews and close joint working was established with primary care.

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust: Streamlining triage and the referral process

A new referral system, with red, amber and green ratings, was designed to reduce wait times for people with a learning disability (LD) and improve communication with primary and secondary care services. A link nurse role was introduced, alongside a triage nurse pathway so healthcare services/ providers could take a more active role, rather than relying on the LD team to meet people’s needs. Reductions were seen in wait times, inappropriate referrals and hospital admissions, while service user health access improved.

Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust: Learning Disability Intensive Support Team

The team aimed to prevent inappropriate hospital admissions or placement breakdown for people with a learning disability and significant challenging behaviour and/or mental health crisis by reading their medical histories, meeting them and their carers and completing assessments. Understanding of positive behaviour support increased and many unnecessary admissions were prevented. For unavoidable admissions, clinically appropriate support was given to ensure a shorter, person-centred stay.

NHS Forth Valley: Establishing a teams approach to discharge planning in learning disability services

A discharge pack was developed to improve the transition of service users from inpatient services to community settings. It allowed therapeutic relationships with care providers to be built in a safe, familiar setting before discharge, and improved discharge rates, care quality, staf confidence and patient outcomes. Feedback from families, service users, care providers and staf was immensely positive.

Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust: Flagging project to improve the bowel cancer screening programme pathway

A list of adults with a learning disability (LD) due to receive a bowel cancer screening kit was given to the community LD team, so it could ofer them guidance, support and reasonably adjusted information on completing the kit. It became clear that some people on the list were not known to the team, so the pathway was amended and they are now contacted by the screening lead. Further support is given by LD care coordinators. Screening in people with LD increased.

Your Healthcare CIC: Bowel support service

Many of the learning disability (LD) team’s service users were prescribed laxatives to manage constipation and the team recognised that information given to prescribers was more informed when LD nurses were involved. A bowel management information pack and assessment tool were created so all members of the LD team could carry out robust assessments, which were shared with the patient’s GP to aid prescribing decisions. These were a great help to staf, and the number of unnecessary daily laxative medications prescribed to patients were reduced.