Support Needed for People with Learning Disabilities
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have said that in order to avoid hospital submissions, more support is needed for those with learning disabilities who behave in a way that challenges.
A new draft guideline from NICE has declared that they should receive specialist support within the community and should only be admitted to a psychiatric ward or residential home as a last resort, after all other options have been considered. This specialist support should also reduce the need to move them away from their home.
It has been estimated that there are around 1.2 million people with a learning disability in England; between 10-17% of these have behaviour that challenges.
In order to best support the people who fall in to this category, the NICE guidelines suggest the following:
· Local authorities should appoint a lead commissioner to ensure that the right support is made available to people with a learning disability and behaviour that challenges in the community
· They should also be assigned a ‘named worker’ from the community learning disability team who will be responsible for coordinating their care. This ‘named worker’ should make sure people can choose how and where they want to live
· By providing local support, such as an out-of-hours helpline for people and their families to use in a crisis, admissions for inpatient psychiatric care can be avoided or reduced
· People should only be admitted to mental health hospitals or residential homes as a last resort
· If someone is admitted, local authorities and NHS bodies should make sure that the hospital or residential home is as close as possible to where they live
The Chief Executive of VoiceAbility and chair of the guideline committee, Jonathan Senker, has said: “Our draft guideline recognises that some people with learning disabilities and behaviour that challenges are not receiving the care they deserve. Good, specialist support in the community is often lacking and this can make life for people and their families extremely difficult”.
The draft guidelines are out for consultation until 20th November. Both members of the public and stakeholders are welcome to provide their opinions.