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Scenarios dealing with mental health can be found in the Mental Health and Grief category.
The scenarios in this category cover a broad range of health care settings, conditions and procedures, and examples of good communication, health promotion and changing health habits.
Supporters will find examples of
- health conditions: heart disease, cancer, dementia, diabetes, epilepsy
- lifestyle factors and health promotion activities: weight loss, smoking cessation, physical activities, dietary changes
- health care settings and professionals: GP surgeries and clinics, inpatient and out-patient hospital departments;
- procedures: a wide range of tests and assessments, including blood tests, cancer screening, sexual health testing, memory checks; medical interventions including injections, oral medication, cancer treatment; lifestyle and social care interventions;
- reasonable adjustments: adjusted communication, access and support arrangements
The pictures in these scenarios can be used in many different ways to support someone to learn and communicate about a health issue or a procedure that they have experienced or are about to experience. Health care workers can look at sequences together with patients, which can have the combined effect of reducing anxiety, increasing a patient’s sense of control, and supporting them to give informed consent.
People with learning disabilities often have more health problems than the general population, and a shorter life expectancy. This can happen for a number of reasons.
Some illnesses or diseases occur more frequently or earlier in life for people with specific conditions. For example people with Down’s syndrome are more likely to suffer from early-onset dementia and heart disease; epilepsy is more common in people who also have learning disabilities; and chest infections occur frequently in people who have swallowing disorders, such as those associated with cerebral palsy.
People with learning disabilities are also more likely to experience ill health related to their lifestyle. This can be due to low income limiting their choice of food or activity, low motivation or expectations and poor mental health, or lack of appropriate health education and information.
Access to good quality health care is more limited for people with learning disabilities. Health promotion information is often provided in a way that is not accessible to people with learning disabilities, resulting in a poor take up of services such as screening. Some receive regular health checks, but this is not universal, and health conditions may be poorly understood or monitored, and may be overlooked entirely. Diagnostic overshadowing is recognised as being a significant problem particularly in health care settings such as hospitals where the person is not well known, and care does not take into account the different way they communicate or show fear or pain through their behaviour.
Safe and effective treatment requires a health professional to have a good knowledge of legislation regarding equality and mental capacity and consent to treatment, and the tools to adapt their practice to meet the communication and access needs of every patient.
Our books help a wide range of people who understand pictures better than words, but their main audience is people with a learning disability, also known as an intellectual or developmental disability in other parts of the world.
This is a lifelong disability that may affect thinking, learning, emotional (adaptive) functioning and independent living skills. This sort of disability is distinct from a specific processing impairment, like dyslexia or attention deficit disorder. In the UK these impairments are typically referred to as “learning difficulties”, but this term is also preferred by some people with developmental disability, so the meaning is becoming blurred as people self-define.
As well as the primary audience, the books are often useful to people with low levels of literacy or specific processing impairment (“learning difficulties”, as per the traditional definition above), as well as people with sensory disabilities, other communication disorders (e.g. associated with dementia), and second language users.
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