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Enhancing the care of people with an intellectual disability

03 Dec 2020

 

As one of only nine roles across the state, our new Specialist Intellectual Disability Clinician position, sees Linda Mortimer and Megan Carnegie-Brown job-sharing to provide this specialised service across the LHD.

Linda and Megan are on hand to support staff to provide care to people with an intellectual disability.

“We can provide staff with advice, information, education and training so our services and facilities can work more readily with people with an intellectual disability when they are accessing our health services,” says Linda.

“We are intending to build capacity with our own staff, so that they can identify areas of need and go on to develop their own strategies to support people with an intellectual disability,” Megan adds.

Often an intellectual disability isn’t identified as a health condition, however, with BHI reporting that 1 in 5 people have a disability, and 1 in 3 people have severe or profound deficits, we need to consider how we can involve people with an intellectual disability in decisions about their health and wellbeing.

“The current research shows that people with an intellectual disability report there is a lot of fear associated when coming to hospital, and that staff did not have a good knowledge or skills, to support people who may have a hidden disability such as Asperger’s or Autism,” says Linda.

Not only will Linda and Megan consult with staff in our hospitals and community centres, they’ll also be developing networks between health and community providers across the District.

“My passion has always been that people with a disability must be supported to live their best life,” says Linda.

NBMLHD has also partnered with DARE Disability for My Health My Communication, a program aimed at improving communication between health staff in hospitals and people with intellectual disability, autism, acquired brain injury, and Down syndrome. 

“It’s still in its early stages, but we will soon be consulting with people with disabilities, their supporters, and their families, to find out how we can support communication and what tools and resources would be useful,” says Megan.

For further information about our Specialist Intellectual Disability Clinicians and their role in the LHD, please email: NBMLHD-IntellectualDisability@health.nsw.gov.au