Accessing medical care can be difficult for some people with a learning disability, with many finding hospital visits and other medical interventions to be worrying and stressful. When Carlton House resident Rohan* was referred to the local NHS Trust by his GP due to concerns of possible colorectal cancer, the support team at the home knew they needed to provide extra support through this time.
The home, located in Leeds, provides specialist residential support to up to 16 men with autism, learning disabilities and behaviours that challenge. Here, Rohan and his fellow residents are supported by a dedicated care team, including a positive behaviour support (PBS) practitioner and an experienced home manager.
The support team at the home knew that Rohan has severe anxiety in relation to doctors and hospitals, and that Rohan's medical needs could present a difficult and complex situation for him. To ease his anxiety and make the hospital trips a positive experience, colleagues at Carlton House discussed and developed a support plan with Leeds Hospital. The team advocated against restraints for Rohan, which would be too distressing for him, and to pause the treatment plan if he became too distressed as this wouldn’t be in his best interests.
The PBS practitioner at Carlton House said: “The case involved lots of time, patience and planning, and each and every one of the team members involved went above and beyond to ensure the outcome was safe and successful for Rohan.
“It was clear from the beginning all those months ago that we had Rohan's best interest at heart and this was proven on the day by everyone's commitment in their time and skills. The collaborative approach and support from many teams resulted in a successful complex case undergoing his colonoscopy procedure.
“Rohan completed his bowel prep the day before the procedure and had a positive day filled with colouring, writing and putting stickers on staff’s badges despite feeling unwell and anxious about this. He managed the admission, the colonoscopy, CT and full bloods, and a nurse even managed to give him some foot care and a pamper! This is a huge achievement for Rohan, Carlton House and the Leeds Health team.
“Previously, Rohan would not have been able to achieve this without restraints and this milestone highlights the importance of positive relationships, support and teamwork. This was a real challenge that took dedication over a long period of time. He is doing really well since the operation and has been enjoying wrapping presents for everybody for Christmas!”
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*Name and image has been changed to protect the resident's identity.