In law, all public sector services have a legal duty to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ for people with learning disabilities.
Reasonable adjustments include removing physical barriers to accessing services, but importantly also include changing the ways in which services are delivered and ensuring that policies, procedures, and staff training all enable services to work equally well for people with learning disabilities.
The ‘reasonable adjustments’ for patients will be based on individual need.
Some examples of reasonable adjustments are:
- Giving individuals an appointment at either the beginning or end of a clinic
- Involve carers but talk to the person
- Use clear words and pictures/symbols
- Give extra time for patients to understand information
- Don’t assume that symptoms are part of the patients learning disability, mental health or autism need
- Adjusting procedures, e.g., meeting place and time to alternative venues rather than clinics such as schools, parks and open spaces
- Use of the discharge prompt to ensure patient and/or carers are fully informed
- Giving longer appointment times
- Placing an individual 1st on the theatre list
- Allowing a family member or carer/s to stay all the time
- Allow flexible visiting hours for carers / support workers
- Allowing individuals to wear their own clothes to theatre
- Doing other investigations whilst individuals are under anaesthetic
- Giving individuals a quiet place to wait away from the main waiting area
- Offering diversions
- Use of comforters
- Having one to one nursing
- Making information easier to understand
- Using a side room
- Allowing more time with meals/drinks etc
- Reduce distracting noise if possible
- Ensure lighting is not too bright or intrusive as this can be stressful for people with a learning disability
If you are finding it difficult to get reasonable adjustments and would like support please contact the team or visit the Empowerment Charity website.