Transforming care for people with learning disabilities

Published on: 25th July 2016

Care and treatment for adults with learning disabilities (LD) has been transformed by LPFT, to provide the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT) has developed from providing traditional hospital-based care, to an innovative community-based model, offering countywide support for people with complex behavioural issues in their own homes whenever possible.

The move is in line with the national NHS programme Transforming Care, and with support from lead local commissioners, South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (SWLCCG), has seen a significant reduction in hospital admissions, with only two patients needing specialist learning disability inpatient care within the last 12 months.

Four new community hubs in Boston, Grantham, Lincoln, and Spalding now bring together expert staff to support service users, their carers and families with a variety of issues.

These include mental health problems, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and diagnostic services for autism spectrum disorder.

A fifth team provides countywide crisis, home assessment and treatment (CHAT), and operates 24/7 to intensively support service users at home.

Fionn Morven, service manager for learning disability services at LPFT said that during Learning Disability Week 2016 is a great time to acknowledge the positive impact that service changes have made to patient experiences.

Throughout 2015 stakeholders, service users and carers from all over the county consistently told us that when they received community LD health services the support was excellent.  However they also said that services were hard to navigate and it was unclear as to what was available,

said Fionn.

The implementation of a care and treatment review has ensured that all adults with a learning disability, who are at risk of going into hospital, have a timely multi-professional review to look at how admission may be avoided. Thanks to the new community hub model their needs are met quickly and effectively – when and where they want to be seen – an important focus of the national agenda and something which improves the overall experience for adults with learning disabilities and their carers.

In the recent comprehensive inspection of LPFT which was carried out by the Care Quality Commission, its community LD services were rated ‘Good’, with inspectors noting that staff were passionate and enthusiastic about the difference they could make to people’s lives.

Sharon Jeffreys, head of commissioning learning disability at SWLCCG said:

The Transforming Care model clearly identifies that people should be able to get support closer to home and only go into hospital when they really need to. By working closely with LPFT, service users and carers we have been able to introduce a new model which is clearly supporting individuals more.

One key aspect of the recent changes has been the impact of the peer support worker role into the model, which ensures that service users are involved in the day-to-day development of support being offered and have a say in recruitment of future staff.

Service user Rachel, who has received treatment from the team in the past, is now employed by the Trust as one of the peer support workers.

It has made my life independent - I’m not in trouble with the police anymore – I’ve got a job and go out shopping on my own,

said Rachel.

I have new friends and I’m enjoying life.  I’m not negative anymore, I’m positive.