Today, Mencap and Bradford People First have released new resources to help young people with a learning disability, and their families, understand and prepare for their transition from children to adult’s health services.
Mencap, the UK’s leading learning disability charity, has partnered with Bradford People First to better equip young people and their families with the information they need to navigate this key stage in their life when they start accessing adult’s health services.
The guide, ‘Hospital care for young people with a learning disability’, and video aim to provide people and their families with the knowledge and tools they need to help them get the right support and healthcare during this transition.
The resources aim to help them understand their rights, such as asking for reasonable adjustments or meeting with the transitions team or learning disability nurse at the hospital to discuss their move to adult’s health services.
This partnership is one part of Mencap’s Treat me well campaign, which aims to transform healthcare for people with a learning disability. The charity’s campaign is currently focusing on ensuring better health outcomes for children with a learning disability, from the point of diagnosis and beyond.
Simple changes in hospital care can be vital for people with a learning disability. People with a learning disability face severe health inequalities throughout their life and are more likely to die avoidably and die younger.[i] Having access to the right information at the right time and health workers making reasonable adjustments are fundamental to achieving the best outcomes for people with a learning disability and their whole family.
Edel Harris, Chief Executive of the learning disability charity Mencap, said: “People with a learning disability face extra challenges at every point in their life, especially in healthcare. Transitioning from children’s to adult’s health services can be a really difficult time. It often involves going to a new hospital, being treated by new doctors and health workers learning how they can adapt to your specific needs for the first time. These resources will help young people with a learning disability and their families become more confident and relaxed at a time that can be daunting for them.
“We are incredibly grateful to partner with Bradford People First to help bring these resources to the young people and their families who need them. We hope that they will help make a huge difference to the lives of young people with a learning disability and improve their access to healthcare to enable them to lead healthy and happy lives.”
Saffron Farr-Hoey, who has cerebral palsy and autism, and is featured in the video, said: “I think Mencap’s new resources for young people with a learning disability are very helpful because now people know what to expect. I wish I had something like this when I was at that age because I would have known more about what will happen and I might have been less anxious.
“It’s important for young people with a learning disability to know what they are entitled to. Later down the line they may struggle if they didn’t have the right support from the beginning. What I would say to young people going through the transition period is to be brave. Be prepared for all the changes but it will get better with time.”
To find out more about Mencap’s Treat me well: children campaign and access the new resources, visit: https://www.mencap.org.uk/get-involved/campaign-mencap/treat-me-well/hospital-care-young-people-learning-disability.
For further information, contact Mencap’s media team on: email@example.com or 020 7696 5414 (including out of hours).
Notes to editors:
[i] University of Bristol (2021) The Learning Disability Mortality Review (LeDeR) Programme Annual Report 2020.
There are approximately 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want: www.mencap.org.uk
For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap’s Freephone Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111 (10am-3pm, Monday-Friday) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Treat Me Well
In 2018, Mencap launched the Treat Me Well campaign to help save lives and to transform how the NHS treats people with a learning disability in hospital.
It is estimated 1,200 people with a learning disability die avoidably every year when timely access to good quality care could have saved them. While people with a learning disability die on average over two decades younger than people without a learning disability.
Mencap’s Treat Me Well campaign is working with healthcare professionals and campaigners to make sure people with a learning disability are treated equally in hospital and get the healthcare they need and have a right to which can help to save lives.
What is a learning disability?
- A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which can cause problems with everyday tasks – for example shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places – which affects someone for their whole life;
- Learning disability is NOT a mental illness or a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’;
- People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people. The level of support someone needs is different with every individual. For example, someone with a severe learning disability might need much more support with daily tasks than someone with a mild learning disability.