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I work within the Community Learning Disabilities Team and in partnership with Primary Health Care Teams. I am involved in developing an up to date register of all adults with a learning disability for each of my GP practices, as they are entitled to an annual health check. I assist with the health checks if required and actively promote the implementation of health facilitation for people with learning disabilities.
Research has proven that people with learning disabilities have higher mortality rates than the normal population. I help support people who have fears and/or anxieties around medical interventions and their general health. In addition I advise and assist Primary care about the importance of making reasonable adjustments and how to overcome barriers to ensure maximum health. I also respond to unidentified health needs by linking in with the health & wellbeing teams and other agencies, to provide better health outcomes.
In 1994 I applied to do nursing through Project 2000 and successfully completed my nurse training in September 1997. I returned to the nursing home that I had previously worked in taking up a staff nurse position. As a student nurse I had the opportunity to undertake a community based placement which I thoroughly enjoyed and as my career progressed, I took the decision to actively apply for community posts. Through hard work and determination I was fortunate to get the job of my dreams and commenced working as a Community Learning Disabilities Nurse (CLDN) in May 2004, as part of the CLD nursing team. I then completed my Community & Public Health Nursing degree in 2010. Requiring a new challenge I applied for a Health Facilitation job in 2012 and was fortunate to acquire this post.
Developing and maintaining good working relationships with the GP practices and the different professionals within the multidisciplinary team. At first it was challenging, as this role was new and very different to Community Learning Disabilities Nursing. As a regional group of Health facilitators we have improved the health check form and summary sheets as well as implementing systems to accurately record data. We also have been instrumental in the pilot and launch of Health & Wellbeing Plans. I also enjoy being part of a strategic group who meet to discuss and review services and the needs of people with learning disabilities and ensure that this remains a high priority within the health improvement team.
My role has expanded and changed over the years and a major part of my job is Health Promotion. The NHSCT’s health facilitators assisted with the development of the Heart Health programme along with the health improvement team. I love being involved with health promotion groups and it is wonderful to see how advice and education can make a big difference to someone’s health.
In the future, I hope to be involved in developing easy read information booklets, to educate and encourage people with a learning disability to attend and participate in any or all of the cancer screening programmes available.
The future is exciting, especially for anyone interested in health improvement. I feel it is such a privilege to be involved in improving the health and wellbeing of our learning disability population.
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