"A&E Learning Disability"

About: Leicester Royal Infirmary / Accident and emergency

(as a service user),

I was supporting a young person who has is on the Autistic Spectrum to attend A&E following a head injury.

The A&E consultant was fantastic and went above and beyond to make his experience as positive as possible in what was a very scary time for him.

Not only did she work with the staff supporting him to ensure that she had all of the facts she engaged him in the process and ensured that she spoke to him as she would any other patient. She was able to pick up on communication styles used by his support staff and implement them effectively through out the time that she spoke to him.

At the end of his treatment a 'Doctor's note' to say how brilliant he had been was a really nice touch and meant a lot to him. Where he had previously been very scared of hospitals and Doctors in particular he is now more comfortable if he needs to access these services.

Also the people that did the CT scan were brilliant playing 'statues' so that he was able to understand how still he needed to be.

This was a vast improvement on previous experiences. However I would like to suggest that at least some key staff are aware of MAKATON signs for commonly used words like 'Doctor', 'Nurse', 'pain', 'safe', 'help'...these are very simple and can be shown in picture form. This would vastly enhance the inclusion of people who have learning disabilities in their care and make it easier to anticipate what is happening to them.

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Response from University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

Lorien, Thank you very much for sharing the positive experience you had when accompanying the young person in A&E. I have passed your kind words on to the staff in the department who I know will be very appreciative.

We take on board your comments about Makaton and I have shared your suggestion with the hospital's equalities team, who will be able to look into it more closely.

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