The community learning disabilities health team works primarily with adults aged 18 plus who have a diagnosed learning disability (16-18 for young people in transition); which includes significant impairment in intellectual functioning combined with an impairment in social functioning which was evidenced during developmental years before adulthood.

The learning disability (LD) team is a multi-agency team who will work with people whose needs cannot be met by mainstream health services without some short or medium term specialist support. Interventions include specialist assessment, health facilitation, behavioural interventions, desensitisation to enable access to essential health checks and treatments, in-reach hospital liaison support.

The team is integrated with specialist social workers in Blackpool Council and are based at Bickerstaffe House.

The team work in partnership with key stakeholders, including; colleagues in primary and secondary health care, commissioners, third sector care providers, service users and their families to develop services to meet the needs of people who have learning disability.

The learning disability health team is made up of the following professionals:

The specialist learning disability nurses in the team undertake comprehensive assessments of an individual’s needs and work in collaboration with the person, their family, carers and other stakeholders to develop and implement plans and programmes of care focusing on reasonable adjustments, communication, behavioural advice and interventions, specialist support in order that people with learning disabilities receive appropriate healthcare and support.

Additionally a key aspect of the learning disability nurse role is providing advice, education and support to people with learning disabilities and their paid and unpaid carers throughout their care journeys. The learning disability nurses also work with young people coming through transition identifying appropriate continuation of health support if required, including the development of health action plans and hospital passports to support people on their adult health journey. The team provide hospital liaison support for people accessing in or outpatient hospital treatments/appointments.

Clinical experts in communication and swallowing disorders. The SALT supports people who have significant communication difficulties or problems with eating and drinking safely, carrying out dysphagia assessments and offering advice and guidance to families/carers and support staff around communication and eating and drinking.

Psychologists within the LD team work on an individual level with clients or by supporting and advising families, other health and social care staff or teams about a range of psychologically sound interventions to meet individuals with learning disabilities complex needs. They use a variety of different types of assessments to help understand both the nature of an individual’s learning disability and the reason for their behaviour or their psychological difficulties and then use these to formulate interventions or support strategies.

Occupational therapists within the LD team carry out assessments of an individual’s occupation and/or activities of daily living in order to identify and advise on practical solutions to maintain health and independence. They work closely with other professionals in the team to identify any aids, adaptations or environmental strategies which can lead to an enhanced quality of life for an individual as part of an overall care plan.

The consultant psychiatrist in learning disabilities provides clinical support and leadership to the learning disability team in relation to meeting the needs of people with a learning disability and associated mental health condition which does not require intervention at secondary care.

They carry out a weekly clinic where presenting mental health needs, medication and risk can be discussed. The LD psychiatrist works closely with the psychology and nursing colleagues to implement pro-active approaches to support people with challenging behaviour in order to reduce the use of restrictive interventions and/or the prescription of antipsychotic medications.

The LD psychiatrist works collaboratively with GPs and secondary care psychiatry colleagues to ensure continuation of care as a person’s mental health needs change.