This section has questions that self-advocates often ask us.
We would like to thank the National Advisory Group and our Advisory group for their help with the questions.
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This is how Mencap describes learning disability:
'A learning disability is caused by the way the brain develops. There are many different types and most develop before a baby is born, during birth or because of a serious illness in early childhood.'
A learning disability is lifelong. A person might have a mild, moderate or severe learning disability, which will affect the amount of support they need in their day-to-day life. People with a learning disability find it harder than others to learn, understand and communicate.
A learning disability is not a mental illness. It is also different to a learning difficulty, which is often used to describe things like dyslexia.
If you are known to social services, you should be offered a health check by your family doctor. If you are not offered a health check, it may be because your doctor is not part of something called a Directed Enhanced Service (DES). You can ask your doctor about this. If they are not part of the DES, you can ask if another doctor can do your health check. Health checks are important, as they can help find out if you have a health problem. The health problem can then be treated. We wrote some easy read guidance about getting more and better health checks. There is a story written by Tracey about how she supported her husband to get a health check. The story could be helpful for you and your doctor. The story is attached below.
You should have a health check every year. But, if you think you have a health problem, you should not wait for your health check. You should make an appointment with your doctor to talk about it.
It depends where you live. In some places the learning disabiity community team, or health facilitator can help you with a Health Action Plan (HAP). If you live in residential care or supported living, your support worker may help you. You can ask about how you get a health action plan where you live. For example, Sheffield has some good information about HAPs and an example of a HAP on their website. There are also examples of HAPs on the easyhealth website, and examples of HAPs on the picture of health website. When you have a health check with your doctor, the doctor should tell you what health actions you need to take. The doctor may fill out a form. This should become part of your HAP.
The easy health website has lots of easy read health information. The picture of health website also has lots of easy read health information. A lot of local health services will have easy read health information too. It is good to ask your local health service if they can give you easy read information. They should do this because of something called the Equalities Act 2010.
There are some leaflets about asthma on the easyhealth website.
There are some leaflets on the easyhealth website. There are also some videos on the easyhealth website. There is a diabetes Health Action Plan on the Improving Health and Lives Reasonable Adjustments Database.
There are some leaflets on the easyhealth website.
Hospitals should put reasonable ajustments in place so that you can get the care you need. Reasonable adjustments are changes that can be made to services so that disabled people can use them like everyone else. We wrote some guidance on reasonable adjustments. The easy read version is on our website.
If is helpful if you have a hospital or patient passport. This can help the staff in the hospital know how to care for you. There are some examples on the reasonable adjustments data base.
A lot of hospitals have a learning disabilities acute liaison nurse. Their role is to work with the staff so that they provide better care for people with learning disabilities. You can ask if your hospital has an acute liaison nurse.
A lot of hospitals have signed the Mencap Getting it Right charter. The charter says what the hospital has agreed to do to give better care to people with learning disabilities.
The plan is for HealthWatch to take over from LINKs (Local Implementation Networks) in October 2012. Healthwatch will make sure the things that patients and carers say are used in buying local services, support people and provide advocacy and tell HealthWatch England how good services are.
There is more information about Healthwatch in the easy read document attached below.
Clinical Commissioning Groups will take over buying (commissioning) health services from Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) in April 2013. They will be made up of family doctors and other clinicians. Clinical Commissioning Groups should listen to patients and the public, as well as other health professionals when they commission services.