A Nursing academic at the University of South Wales has helped develop a new tool to support people with a learning disability in Wales.

Professor Ruth Northway, who specialises in Learning Disability Nursing, worked with Improvement Cymru – part of Public Health Wales – to shape the Once for Wales health profile, which aims to provide people with a learning disability to receive consistent, safe and timely healthcare.

It provides people with a learning disability with a personalised document that provides an individual health profile to take to appointments and emergency admissions. This key information can then be used by healthcare providers to deliver safe, person-centred healthcare.

A year later, the profile is being implemented across Wales.

In celebration of national Learning Disability Week 2020, the Improvement Cymru programme team hosted an online meeting of representatives from Learning Disability Wales, All Wales Forum of Parents and Carers, Mencap Cymru and All Wales People First, to discuss the wider roll-out of the new profile.

Professor Northway said: “People with learning disabilities continue to experience premature deaths and avoidable health problems due to a range of barriers that limit their access to healthcare.

“Communication is a key barrier, when people with learning disabilities visit a hospital or medical setting, they can experience difficulty in expressing themselves and getting the care that they need. The Health Profile aims to help address this through providing key information for healthcare staff. Having one tool that will be used throughout Wales aims to ensure that the tool is clearly recognised by all healthcare professionals.

“Guidance has been developed to accompany this for people with a learning disability, their families and carers, and for health professionals to assist with the completion of the tool and understanding how it should be used.”

Listen to a podcast from Prof Northway – who is also head of the Unit for Development in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at USW – to find out more:


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