People with learning disabilities have a much greater chance of developing physical health problems compared to the non-learning disabled population. In some cases, the cause of learning disability also leads to specific physical health conditions, e.g. Down syndrome has a link with heart problems.
In addition, they are likely to find it more difficult than others to describe their symptoms. As a result it is more difficult for healthcare workers to identify health needs among people with learning disabilities, which can leave some problems unrecognised.
It has also been found that people also have reduced access to generic preventative screening and health promotion campaigns, such as breast or cervical screening.
As a result of higher frequency of illness and later diagnosis, people with a learning disability often die many years sooner than their non-disabled peers.
How we support people with this diagnosis:
We ensure optimum physical healthcare for all of our service users and facilitate active health promotion in all of our services, including an annual health check by a General Practitioner for all service users.
We use the Health Equalities Framework to ensure service users receive the same access to physical health care as their non-learning disabled peers. This tool looks at the risks that exist to cause health inequalities for people with learning disabilities. It makes us aware of the health inequalities our service users may face, enabling us to minimise them.