A joint approach to Learning Disability Week

Posted: June 14, 2017

Raising awareness with Swindon Borough Council

Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is teaming up with colleagues at Swindon Borough Council to raise awareness of the stereotype-busting work taking place across the town to empower people with learning disabilities.
 
The two organisations will be coming together throughout Learning Disability Week, which begins on Monday 19 June, to stage events that will not only give local people more information, but also encourage them to change the way they view people affected by conditions such as Down's syndrome and autism.
 
More than a million people in the UK have some form of learning disability, with the most common types affecting the way a person processes information, learns new things or communicate with others.
 
It can make everyday tasks, such as visiting hospital or accessing local support services, incredibly difficult, which can often result in people compromising their own health and wellbeing.
 
Staff at the Great Western Hospital will be on a mission throughout the week to raise awareness among colleagues, patients and visitors of what's being done in the NHS in Swindon to support those people who need a little extra help.
 
An information stand will be manned at the hospital for the duration of the week, with members of the Learning Disability Partnership Board, which is made up of figures from both the Trust and council, on hand to answer questions and share useful information.
 
Hospital staff paying a visit to the stand will also be able to take part in a state-of-the-art virtual reality game which recreates what it's like to attend an appointment in a busy hospital setting when suffering from autism.
 
Wendy Johnson, Nursing Lead for Learning Disabilities, said: "Our Trust is committed to ensuring that all our patients can access the healthcare they need with ease, which is why celebrating Learning Disability Week is so important.
 
"We want to reach out to those people directly affected by a learning disability, as well as their carers and the people who help them out, and let them know that we will do all we can to help make their visit to hospital as comfortable and stress-free as possible.
 
"And while we're out spreading these positive messages, we want to remind as many people as we can to look further than the learning disability and see the amazing people behind the condition."
 
As part of the collaboration, Cllr Brian Ford, Cabinet Member for Adult Health and Social Care, will be visiting GWH on 19 June to meet the team and chat with patients and visitors.
 
He said: "This week is a great opportunity to provide visitors with an excellent insight into the work of the Learning Disability Partnership Board, particularly the forums they run.
 
"The board plays a critical role in championing opportunities for adults with a learning disability by ensuring their voice is heard, promoting choice and control and enabling them to play their full part in society."
 
To close Learning Disability Week, the Trust will host its second Compassion and Practice Awards which recognise hospital staff who have gone to great lengths to provide extra help and support to more vulnerable patients.
 
Winners will be presented with their awards by the Trust's Medical Director Dr Guy Rooney during a special ceremony on Friday 23 June.
 
For more information about the services available in Swindon for people with learning disabilities, visit www.mycaremysupport.co.uk.

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