People with a learning disability are more likely to experience major illnesses that will require acute care (Disability Rights Commission, 2006) and more people with learning disability are living longer, and are therefore more likely to use health services as they get older. As a group, they experience more admissions to hospital (26%) compared to the general population (14%) (Mencap, 2004).
It can be easy to make assumptions about a person’s quality of life, which can colour our judgements about the support, care and treatment of individuals, and how and what they should receive.
So it is vital that the person and those who know them best are involved in their care, so that a more complete picture of an individual’s life can emerge and their needs, likes and dislikes can be shared with those providing care and support. This should improve the quality of the care and treatment that a person receives.
It was with this in mind that the hospital passport was developed, containing important information about the person, such as their health and health difficulties, likes and dislikes, and any medication that they may be on. The idea was adapted from one created by Gloucestershire NHS primary care trust and introduced at St George’s Hospital in south west London.
It was created by people with learning disabilities and health professionals from Wandsworth and Merton community learning disability teams and the acute hospital to ensure a better experience and health outcome for people with learning disabilities and their families in St George’s.