Alison Giraud-Saunders, Senior Policy Advisor at the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities:
" High profile reports show that people with learning disabilities often experience worse health and worse health care than the rest of the population. For example, research shows that people with moderate or severe learning disabilities are three times more likely to die early (Turner and Robinson, 2011). Key factors influencing health inequalities (Emerson et al., 2011) include:
- Greater risk of poverty, poor housing, unemployment and social disconnectedness, which are known to be linked to poor health
- Increased risk of health problems associated with specific genetic and biological causes of learning disabilities
- Communication difficulties and low levels of knowledge about health and looking after your health
- Personal health risks and behaviours such as poor diet and lack of exercise
- Difficulties in access to health care
We have had a long track record of work to promote better physical and mental health and access to health services for people with learning disabilities. As part of one of our projects, Better Health, Better Metrics we commissioned the Easyhealth team at Generate to translate some patient information leaflets into Easy Read format. Topics include common conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes, obesity and thyroid problems.
The Easy Read leaflets have been published on the PRODIGY website. This is a system used by many GPs and other health professionals to obtain up-to-date information both for themselves and to give their patients. The leaflets were translated from the original clinical summaries on the PRODIGY website and were subjected to the same rigorous clinical quality checks as all the other information published by PRODIGY. We hope that having these new materials available will make it easier for doctors and nurses to help their patients with learning disabilities to understand some common health problems. Indeed we think that the leaflets will be useful for anyone who struggles with written information."
07 September 2011