Working together to help people with learning disabilities
Nurses and occupational therapists from the community learning disability team in north Kirklees have been working with colleagues at a local hospice to raise awareness of the issues that can arise at the end of people’s lives.
The community learning disability team provide specialist advice to services across north Kirklees and help them to make sure they meet the individual needs of people with learning disabilities.
One aspect of the team’s role is to provide emotional support for people with learning disabilities struggling through a difficult period in their lives. The team helps them to find space and time to address their worries, overcome communication barriers to find out how they are understanding and handling the situation, and provide support to help them cope.
In order to be able to meet the demands of increased requests from people they work with to support them dealing with end of life issues – the team decided to look at what training they could undertake to raise their own knowledge of end of life care.
The team called on colleagues at Kirkwood Hospice to offer some professional advice on how to best deal with end of life care and an educational session was set up. Taking part in the session enabled the team to talk about the work they do and for staff working at the hospice to share good practice for dealing with end of life issues and support for how they can cope with the emotional impact associated with this kind of work.
Jan Howard, nurse team leader at the north Kirklees community learning disability team said: “We identified a service and practitioner need and were glad to work with a specialist service to try and meet that need. Supporting people with learning disabilities to cope with end of life is an emotional experience for everyone involved.
“The training has given the team the confidence to understand their role, appreciate the skills they have and be less afraid to use them in sensitive situations. What we also came away with was improved links for when our service users need additional specialist support from the hospice.”
To help thank Kirkwood Hospice for kindly providing the training and giving their time and knowledge to the Trust for free, the community learning disability team made a donation to the hospice’s fundraising efforts.