Helping service users to take control of their health
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Helping service users to take control of their health

Mary Codling Healthcare lead nurse in learning disabilities, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Mary Codling describes the development and delivery of a pilot course to encourage people with learning disabilities and long-term conditions to understand their health needs

People with learning disabilities have more health needs than the general population, but their cognitive impairments can inhibit them from recognising ill health, and understanding health risk and promotion. However, service users can discuss and learn from their own and other people’s emotional and social experiences. This article describes the development and delivery of a course of six weekly sessions for 12 people with learning disabilities and long-term conditions, in which a psychosocial, person-centred approach was adopted to teach them about their health. Feelings were conversationally shared and reflected on, and possible actions discussed. Participants’ feedback indicate that the sessions improved their socialisation, pain management, emotional balance, and awareness of and communication about health conditions, and ensured that they would be less anxious about relationships and consultations with health professionals.

Learning Disability Practice. 18, 3, 26-31. doi: 10.7748/ldp.18.3.26.e1612


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 11 November 2014

Accepted: 20 February 2015

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