Systematic changes needed for how we care for adults with learning disabilities in hospital settings | BASW England
BASW England’s Homes Not Hospitals campaign appreciates The Health Services Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB)'s efforts to shed light on the challenges faced by adults with learning disabilities in acute hospital settings.
The findings of the report are deeply concerning, highlighting a pressing issue within England’s health and care system. It is disheartening that so many people with learning disabilities are not consistently receiving the specialised care they require, compromising their safety and well-being.
We want to offer our condolences to those that knew the 79-year-old man who died in a hospital setting.
Commenting on the findings, BASW England’s Homes Not Hospitals campaign group member Andrew Reece said:
“Given that most hospitals only have one learning disability liaison nurse, this report exposes this as a single point of failure that puts acutely unwell people with learning disabilities at risk of avoidable deaths.
Unfortunately, there has been a persistent and long-term failure to address this long standing issue, that hospitals have known about since the original Death by Indifference report in 2007.”
The report's revelations, including the inadequate identification of people’s needs, the lack of specialised training among hospital staff, and the flaws in information sharing mechanisms, are alarming. These issues underscore the urgent need for systematic changes in how we approach the care of individuals with learning disabilities in hospital.
This report serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need to address these issues promptly and comprehensively. Together, we must work towards a future where people with learning disabilities are valued as equal citizens and receive the respect, dignity, and quality of care they rightfully deserve.
Learning Disability England member Jack Marshall, BEM, looked at the report and said:
‘I want to see the recommendations in this report actually happen because doctors having information about how to support people and more learning disability nurses could be some of the practical steps towards the culture change that is needed. We do not need more evidence of what needs to change. Let’s just do it’.
BASW England’s Homes Not Hospitals campaign remains committed to advocating for these necessary changes within our health and care system. We recommend that all Safeguarding Adult Partnership Boards write to their local acute trusts and ask them what action they will be taking in response this report, particularly the risk when the learning disabilities liaison nurse is on leave.