Editorial

Coming out of lockdown: the route back to normality

People with learning disabilities and/or autism will need support to rebuild their lives

People with learning disabilities and/or autism suffered during COVID-19 and will need support to rebuild their routines and lives

As the UK moves out of lockdown, however gradually, it has become clear that learning disability nurses’ advocacy skills are going to be in demand more than ever.

Evidence shows that many people with learning disabilities and/or autism have fared badly during the COVID-19 pandemic ranging from inappropriate do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation notices to ‘blanket bans’ on visits to care homes by families.

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People with learning disabilities and/or autism suffered during COVID-19 and will need support to rebuild their routines and lives

People with learning disabilities and/or autism suffered during COVID-19 and will need support to rebuild their routines and lives
Picture: iStock

As the UK moves out of lockdown, however gradually, it has become clear that learning disability nurses’ advocacy skills are going to be in demand more than ever.

Evidence shows that many people with learning disabilities and/or autism have fared badly during the COVID-19 pandemic ranging from inappropriate do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation notices to ‘blanket bans’ on visits to care homes by families.

At almost every step of the way there have been battles that needed to be fought, whether it be to reveal data about deaths of people with learning disabilities during the pandemic or allowing all people with learning disabilities to be treated as a priority group for the new vaccines.

Moving out of lockdown will present new challenges

As a learning disability nurse such battles won’t be new to you, but you might well, like me, ask why – pandemic or not – is this still happening?

Moving out of restrictions is a time to be positive, but it brings new challenges and complications including the impact of the new variants that are emerging.

As our analysis shows support schemes run by volunteers that would have been affected during lockdown will be picking up and the important issue of transition from child to adult services needs to be focused on.

Liaison nurse role could be boosted

It may be that hospital admissions increase since there is evidence about missed annual health checks. The role of the liaison nurse is ever more important and might be about to be given a boost with more funding if the rumours I have heard are correct.

We also hope to see the rollout of the Oliver McGowan Training in Learning Disability and Autism, currently being piloted, across the NHS and social care.

Overall, the progress that many people were making to leading more independent lives before the first lockdown and the isolation it caused will need to begin again, however difficult and slow that might be.


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