It is estimated that approximately 2% of the adult population has a learning disability. On average, people with a learning disability die 20 years younger than their peers.
People with a learning disability experience worse patient safety outcomes and quality of care in hospital; clinical challenges include delayed presentation, communication, behaviours of distress and diagnostic overshadowing.
All staff working in acute medical units should read this toolkit, as they will care for people with a learning disability who present acutely unwell to hospital. An Easy Read version of the toolkit is also available to download.
The toolkit contains:
- top tips on caring for people with a learning disability
- guidance on reasonable adjustments
- features of acute presentations of people with a learning disability
- considerations for the treatment of common medical problems in this patient group
- medicolegal and safeguarding considerations
- recommendations for quality improvement and education.
The Acute care toolkit: Acute medical care for people with a learning disability was supported by funding from NHS England Learning Disability and Autism Programme.