A series of Easy Read resources focusing on, AAA screening, Menopause and Know Your Prostate have been launched for adults with a learning disability across Northern Ireland.
The publications, funded by the Health and Social Care Board were developed in ‘Easy Read’ format which means more people with learning disabilities can access information more easily.
The AAA (Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm) screening publication is targeted at men over 65 years providing detail about scanning inside your tummy to check for swelling in blood vessels from your heart to your tummy. ‘Women’ keep healthy during the menopause and ‘Men’ know your prostate booklets have also been developed due to a lack of ‘easy to understand’ information on these health topics for adults with a learning disability.
Launching the new resources Valerie Watts, Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Board and Interim Chief Executive of the Public Health Agency explained:
“These new resources will ensure that everyone is able to access and understand information that affects their everyday lives, including people with learning disability. Information that is easier to understand helps people to make better choices on important issues such as healthcare.”
“We have also produced a DVD promoting annual health checks for those with a learning disability. The Annual Health Check is a chance for the person to get used to going to their GP practice, which reduces their fear of going at other times.
“Regular health checks for people with learning disabilities often uncover treatable health conditions. Most of these are simple to treat and make the person feel better, while sometimes serious illnesses such as cancer are found at an early stage when they can be treated.
“I am committed to ensuring ongoing progress in this area continues to provide better and improved experiences and access to health services for people with learning disabilities,” she said.
Service User Declan Armstrong also spoke at the launch highlighting that he was diagnosed with type 11 Diabetes following his health check. He now attends diabetic nurse in his GP practice regularly and gets his bloods, weight and eyes monitored.
Speaking at the launch, Bryce McMurray, Acting Director of Mental Health and Disability Services for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust who developed the resources said:
“In the Southern Trust we want to ensure that having a learning disability does not prevent our service users from accessing the same health and social care services as the wider population. I would like to commend our learning disability health facilitators who have shown such dedication to improving the health and wellbeing outcomes of our services users in developing these fantastic resources and we are absolutely delighted to share these with the rest of the region. I encourage all service users and their families to avail of the Easy Read resources and the support offered by our health facilitators to help them access the services they need to ensure the best possible quality of life.”