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Continuing professional development opportunities for learning disability nurses

Posted on: November 1st, 2023 by Kieron Bradshaw No Comments

This year, Learning Disability Nurses Day is a double celebration for us as it also marks six months since the launch of a bespoke training package for learning disability nurses called the Learning Disability Nursing CPD Award.

The response to the training so far has been brilliant as almost 2,000 people have already registered to use it. If you haven’t already tried it, you can access the training for free on the NHS Learning Hub and we hope that it will support you in your career. We want the training to be as meaningful and valuable as possible for you, so please do complete the evaluation survey at the end of the training as well, to let us know what you think of it.

Covering the core principles of the profession, the training aims to help resolve any gaps in knowledge that colleagues already practicing may have; and it can also be used as an introduction to learning disability nursing for any healthcare professional with an interest in the area. The training can also help prepare you for specialising in key areas as it includes modules on inpatient settings, community, forensic and intensive support settings, as well as primary and acute care liaison.

This fantastic step forward is part of work to advance a dedicated career structure for learning disability nursing. The training supports the delivery of the All England Plan for Learning Disability Nursing, and aims to support those thinking about a career in this profession, as well as those in training and those currently working as a learning disability nurse.

Learning disability nurses are one of the most diverse and adaptable professional groups, working in a variety of settings and roles, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank every single one of you for the care and support that you provide every day.

Discussing the training, David Harling, National Deputy Director for Learning Disability Nursing at NHS England, said:

“The launch of the new Learning Disability Nursing Continuing Professional Development Award signals an important marker in both the evolution and investment in our profession. For over 100 years learning disability nurses have been providing expert care to people with learning disabilities and their families, and the advent of this programme will enable them to further their knowledge and skills.

“The programme has been created by learning disability nurses working in a variety of specialist areas of care and we hope it will become one of requisite benchmarks supporting specific roles, be this within job descriptions or as part of the learning disability nursing career framework.”

Ellie Gordon, Senior Nurse; Autism, Learning Disability and Mental Health at NHS England, said:

 “It has been a real pleasure to be part of this piece of work. Collaborating with learning disability nurses to progress from an ‘ask’ to a programme of continuing professional development that not only supports knowledge development, but also provides tools and resources to enhance nursing specific skills.

“When we first launched the All England plan for Learning disability nursing back in 2020, we had a clear vision that we not only needed to attract more people into learning disability nursing, but we also needed to develop those nurses who specialised in this area. We also knew that to develop such specialist nurses we would have to develop something that really spoke to nurses and nursing, and which showed how much we value and appreciate all that these great nurses do. I really feel that with this training we have started to do just that, and I look forward to continuing to work with learning disability nurses to develop and grow this great profession.”

Access the training

You can find out more and access the training now on the NHS Learning Hub.

Reducing the risk of health deterioration for people with a learning disability

Posted on: October 17th, 2023 by Kieron Bradshaw No Comments

People with a learning disability can often be reliant on health and care staff, including social prescribers and non-clinical colleagues, to help them manage their needs and support them to access services. They also experience greater health inequalities compared to the general population.

Healthcare staff including those in non-clinical roles can now access the Caring for People with Learning Disabilities elearning – a free online training programme that aims to reduce preventable causes of ill health, as well as the health inequalities that people with learning disabilities face.

Developed by the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership in collaboration with NHS England, this training comprises four sessions which have been selected as important areas of learning:

  1. Constipation: Constipation is a common health issue for people with learning disabilities for a number of reasons and this resource provides advice and support for carers about why this might be and how they can reduce this for the people they are supporting.
  2. ReSTORE: One of the issues highlighted for people with a learning disability or autism is that communication isn’t always good between a service user and a service. This can result in a person not being able to communicate their health status effectively or in a timely way. Supporting people to understand and inform the right person at the right time when someone with a learning disability is becoming unwell is one of the ways that we want to help colleagues. Carers can also use other things to support the information they give to a health professional; this is called ReSTORE2 mini project. Within this training module we can support you to understand how to use the pulse oximeter as a communication tool to get your concern across to a health professional to get the right support at the right time.
  3. Annual Health Check: Annual Health Check for people with a Learning Disability from the age of 14 is an opportunity to have a full, head to toe examination to make sure that there are no undiagnosed health issues.
  4. Reasonable Adjustments: Reasonable adjustments are required under the Equality Act to help ensure that people who have a disability get the right support to be able to access health services. This session will help carers to gain a good understanding of what reasonable adjustments are and what you can do to support people to get these put in place.

We are also pleased to advise that the elearning will soon be available for unpaid carers. We will share further information about this as it becomes available.

You can find out more by visiting the Caring for People with Learning Disabilities training pages on the NHS Learning Hub.

Learning Disability session added to All Our Health

Posted on: April 19th, 2023 by Louise Garrahan No Comments

The All Our Health elearning programme has been updated with a session on learning disabilities.

Developed by NHS England elearning for healthcare and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, the resource will help colleagues to provide the best possible support for people with a learning disability and their families, throughout their lifetime.

The resource has been developed in response to latest figures which show that there are approximately 1.3 million people with a learning disability in England who tend to experience poorer physical and mental health and significant health inequalities compared to people without a learning disability.

To help address these inequalities, the session aims to help health, care and the wider public health workforce such as emergency, local authority and integrated care board staff:

  • understand the importance of specific activities and interventions that can affect the wellbeing of people who have a learning disability and their families
  • consider resources and services available locally to support individuals and their families to live more independent, healthier lives, for longer
  • promote holistic family wellbeing

The elearning also features helpful additional resources from organisations including the Royal College of Nursing and Skills for Health’s core capabilities framework for people with a learning disability .

For more information and to access the resource, please visit the Learning Disability session within the All Our Health programme.

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