The types of people requiring some form of professional care have always fluctuated over the years, though on most occasions we are asked to provide care to older people, some of which have Dementia in some form, as well as physical or mental health issues.
One of the groups we have found that are requiring care more recently are those with learning disabilities. As healthcare improves and people are living longer, the need to care for older people with learning disabilities has increased. Unlike a lot of nursing homes, we are registered to provide care to both older residents and those with learning disabilities and are fully capable of providing care to these groups and more. We have had the opportunity to welcome a number of LD residents into our home over the last few years, often due to LD care homes not being able to provide care to older residents, and the combination of LD and older person’s needs often being quite complex.
There are also currently an estimated 29,000 people with learning disabilities living with family members aged 70 or over, many of whom are too old or frail to continue in their caring role, leading to the need to find alternatives.
We have provided all staff with training in the field of learning disabilities to provide them with the knowledge and skills they need to care for this type of resident, and this was before it made a mandatory requirement of all care providers recently. A lot of the effective communication strategies we employ on a daily basis to enable our dementia residents to make choices about their care can also be adapted for use with LD residents, so everyone can enjoy a more individual and person-centred approach to their care.
With an estimated 23,000 people with learning disabilities in care between 2017 and 2018, and that number having increased since then, it is likely that we will be seeing more and more residents with this type of needs in our home in the future, and we look forward to meeting them soon.