Mary Codling

Development of epilepsy risk assessment guidance for carers and services

Development of epilepsy risk assessment guidance for carers and services

Nurses need to feel confident about supporting people with LD affected by epilepsy

Time to say Goodbye

DVD review: Time to Say Goodbye

Primary healthcare nurse Mary Codling reviews Time to Say Goodbye.

Helping service users to take control of their health

People with learning disabilities have more health needs than the general population, but their cognitive impairments can inhibit them from recognising ill health, and understanding health risk and promotion. However, service users can discuss and learn from their own and other people’s emotional and social experiences. This article describes the development and delivery of a course of six weekly sessions for 12 people with learning disabilities and long-term conditions, in which a psychosocial, person-centred approach was adopted to teach them about their health. Feelings were conversationally shared and reflected on, and possible actions discussed. Participants’ feedback indicate that the sessions improved their socialisation, pain management, emotional balance, and awareness of and communication about health conditions, and ensured that they would be less anxious about relationships and consultations with health professionals.

user-friendly information: does it convey what it intends?

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 was intended to end the discrimination that many face when using public services. It first introduced the concept of accessible information for people with disability. In more recent years, patient information has become a feature of government policy and is a commitment in The NHS Plan (Department of Health (DH) 2000). Nonetheless, the information developed by services is of little value for people with learning disability due to their lack of literacy skills.

evaluating health checks

Acknowledging that people with learning disability have poorer health than the rest of the population, the government set out clear principles for improving the health of this population in the Valuing People White Paper (Department of Health (DH) 2001). One of the key objectives of Valuing People is to enable those with learning disability to have access to health services designed around their needs, with care delivered with additional support where necessary. To achieve this objective, the concept of health facilitation was proposed as a means of reducing health inequalities and improving access to health services for people with learning disabilities.

integrated care pathway for people with epilepsy

The implementation of clinical governance brought witl it a statutory duty for NHS trusts to ensure the level of clinical services they deliver to patients and clients is satisfactory, consistent and responsive (Swage 2000). The essence of clinical governance is that it provides an opportunity for clinicians to take the lead in delivering care, to demonstrate how it can be done effectively, to learn from each other, and share best practice in a structured way. One term used to incorporate these concepts and a component of the overarching clinical governance framework is ‘care pathways

Compelling evidence

Epilepsy is a condition that can adversely affect a person’s physical, psychological, social and educational development. It can also have wide-ranging effects on the person’s life at home and day-time activity. Because of its impact, Corbett (1988) describes epilepsy as a compounding rather than an additional handicap. Additional neurological disorders can present significant management challenges which include limited communication skills, behavioural problems, as well as the complexity of seizures. In comparison to the general population, epilepsy is more prevalent among people with learning disabilities, with 18 per cent of people affected compared with between 1 and 2 per cent of the general population (Kerr 1996).