Staying healthy and in good shape is important for everyone. The health care service is also known as the NHS. The NHS asks people to make decisions about what they can do to stay healthy and prevent heart disease.
We (that is, a group of researchers from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen and Dundee University in Dundee) have done a research study. The study was funded by an organisation with the name Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland.
Two universities – Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen and University of Dundee
In this research, we asked people with learning difficulties, their carers and doctors and nurses about what needs to be done to stay healthy. It is known that some people with learning difficulties may have heart disease at some point in their lives. Heart disease can often be prevented. By prevention we mean eating healthy food, being active and not smoking or drinking too much alcohol. In our research we wanted to know what nurses and doctors can do to help people with learning difficulties to live healthy lives. And we wanted to know what nurses and doctors can do to involve people with learning disabilities in decisions about healthcare.
No alcohol, no smoking, exercise, healthy eating.
Being involved in making decisions about what to do and not to do.
We talked to 14 people with learning difficulties, 11 carers/assistants and 11 doctors and nurses.
People with learning disabilities; Carers; Nurses
We learned a lot from our discussions. People with learning difficulties told us that they are happy to be involved in decisions. They want information that they can use. Not too much, not all at once. The doctors and nurses we asked, also said that people with learning difficulties can take care of their health. They said that information and help should be provided which can be understood. And like the people with learning difficulties who we spoke to they said not too much information should be given at once. But information alone is not enough. Emotional support and encouragement is important. Also, it is very important to have a clear plan about what to do. Regular reminders were seen as important.
We need to do a lot more to work with people with learning difficulties and their doctors, nurses and assistants to find the best way to support people in making decisions about their health.
We need to help doctors and nurses to better understand what people with learning disabilities need.
If you woud like to get in touch with the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group, please contact:
Chair of the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group
School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies
The Open University
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