A series of resources to help improve diabetes care for people with a learning disability and diabetes have been released.
Around two per cent of the population have a mild to moderate learning disability, and the resources have been developed to address issues specific to this group.
The resources include easy-to-read information and guidance for people with learning disabilities and their carers. Some of the areas covered include health checks, diet, exercise, foot care and dental care.
A number of resources have been developed to guide healthcare professionals towards identifying patients with learning disabilities, planning care, making reasonable adjustments and ways to communicate effectively.
The resources were compiled with input from members of the public, doctors and a variety of charities including Diabetes UK, Mencap, and the Down’s Syndrome Association. They were funded by The Health Foundation and the University of Leeds.
People with a learning difficulty tend to need more support to understand information and develop new skills. It is known that those with a learning disability can struggle to understand and access mainstream diabetes services. The resources therefore help to ensure that guidance is introduced in a way that is appropriate and effective for these patients.
Type 2 diabetes and other long-term health issues are more common in people with a learning a disability and therefore the new guidance has an important role play in supporting the nation’s health.
The resources are needed as the CIPOLD (Confidential Inquiry into premature deaths of people with learning disabilities) report identified that many deaths among people with learning disabilities could have been avoided if better health care had been followed.
The report showed that premature death in those with a learning disability were nearly three times more common than the general population. The new resources available will go a long way towards improving life for patients with a learning disability and making caring easier for healthcare professionals and carers.

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