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Great Ormond Street Hospital »
01 January 2015
He has worked with patients with learning disabilities for over 20 years and is also a senior nursing lecturer, an advisor for the Quality Care Commission and a health advisor to the British Institute of Learning Disabilities. He was recruited as a Camilla Nurse by Great Ormond Street to improve the care it offers to children with learning disabilities. He has worked at GOSH since 2013.
“Children and young people with learning disabilities often need to be treated differently; they may, for example, need longer appointments to help them feel calm and unhurried; they may need to communicate differently – for example, using sign or imagery; they may react badly to loud noises or bright lights.
"Part of my job is to ensure that the medical staff at GOSH knows instantly which patients have learning disabilities, and how to provide a safe, accommodating environment for each one. This often involves advising and guiding nurses and doctors on children’s behalf and helping them and their carers prepare for their visit and then make sure they settle in well at hospital and not only received the right treatment in the right way, but that they are as comfortable and as happy as they can be.”
As part of this, Jim has introduced a hospital passport which children carers complete with the help of their carers before they come to GOSH. The passport lets them record everything from essential medical information to their religion and mobility, through to the best way to communicate with them and what makes them laugh. They bring their hospital passport with them to GOSH, and it stays with them throughout their visit. It’s become an invaluable resource for medical professionals at GOSH to instantly access vital information. In fact, not only do more staff now know about the passport, 55 per cent of staff who completed the hospital's learning disability staff survey said they had noticed significant improvements in the last year regarding care provision for people with learning disabilities and heir families.
Jim has also introduced ‘link leads’. Link Leads are medical professionals on the wards who are regularly trained and briefed by Jim to help them become more aware of the adjustments they can make to improve the care experience for their young patients with learning disabilities – in particular listening and involving the patient’s carer and not assuming medical symptoms are part of the person’s disability, but acting quickly.