Promoting the Health and Well-Being of People with Learning Disabilities

Pauline Heslop, Crispin Hebron

This textbook presents a practical guide for new and experienced health or social care staff, helping them promote the health and well-being of people with learning disabilities. Given the considerable demand for mandatory training on supporting people with learning disabilities, especially in England, the book provides a valuable resource for all training courses on working with people with learning disabilities.
The chapters are co-written by practitioners and people with learning disabilities and their families, rooting the book in the lived experiences of those concerned. Topics covered include core elements of being happy and healthy, communication, changes in our behaviour when we are unwell, making decisions about our health, accessing health services, how we would want to be treated if we were unwell, the use of psychotropic medication, what a ‘good death’ would be, and how to keep ourselves healthy. In addition, the chapters include narrative examples concerning people with learning disabilities and their families, so as to highlight key points and share best-practice examples. The use of personal reflection is used to consider how we can ensure that people with learning disabilities receive care and support that matches what we would expect for ourselves. Core questions at the end of each chapter ask the reader to reflect on how the chapter content relates to their own work and how they will apply what they have learned.
A consistent theme throughout the book is equality of opportunity for people with learning disabilities to achieve good health. There is now substantial evidence that people with learning disabilities have poorer health than the general population, are more likely to have multiple health needs, and can experience difficulties in having their illnesses diagnosed and treated promptly. This book aims to help those supporting people with learning disabilities to achieve more equal outcomes.

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