John – Managing Posture
People with a learning disability often have challenges in accessing treatment at the right time and when they need treatment in general acute hospitals can have mixed experiences but sometimes the treatment and the experience is made great.
John has a few physical challenges that mean he needs to be a specific position to be able to eat and drink easily, he also has a learning disability. He lives in a supported living environment and is well looked after and generally happy.
John has a tablet computer and is a part of the rollout of Hear Me Now (HMN) in a specialist mental health trust so has the app on his tablet. He uses it regularly and has put a lot of information in the About Me section that helps new people coming to work in the supported living provider. John has also put some specific information in a Box in the HMN app he has called “Food and Drink”. In the box he has written information about what he likes and does not like as well as pictures telling people about the position he needs to be in to digest food and drink. John and a member of the staff team at the provider have also done a video stored in the box showing how to work with John to put him in the best position for him to eat and drink.
What was done
John felt unwell with a pain in his lower back, he’d never had this before. The team at the supported living provider made an appointment to see the GP but the pain became worse and John was taken to hospital in an ambulance. He was assessed and taken to the ward. Because he was rushed to the hospital he didn’t take his tablet with him. Length of stay would usually be in the range of 4 days for this type of problem but the problems with food and drink mean that the discharge planning team are looking at a predicted discharge time of 8 days.
Staff at the hospital where John was being treated actually could not treat him as he was not happy, not able to eat or drink as the nurses were trying their best but they did not understand that John needed to be in a specific position. The inability to eat and drink was causing real problems as the challenge he had was with his kidney.
Outcomes and impact
After a couple of days a member of staff from the supported living provided visited John and brought his tablet. John was delighted and showed the staff the information about him, his underlying challenges and especially the box all about “Food and Drink”. Staff at the ward were shown what he likes and understood the postural management issues John has and the best process to adopt to put John in his favoured position to eat and drink.
John’s positioning allowed him to eat and drink as he usually would and the treatment for his kidney problem had effect on the pain and the reasons for the pain. Instead of the 8 days length of stay John stayed in for 5 days and was successfully discharged.
Use of HMN allowed benefits for John to be achieved through good treatment, an efficient stay in Hospital within the usual range and the ward team felt good about themselves as they had been able to use HMN to better understand and respond to John’s needs.
Hear Me Now supports John to
- Show people who do not know John, the correct posture for eating and drinking as worked out by John and his Physio team
- Bring up-to-speed new carers, with his About Me information, reducing wasted time
- Share what he likes and what he doesn’t like
- Be correctly treated in hospital, reducing his length of stay, by sharing the right information expressed by John, at the right time
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