'We must advocate strongly, ask questions, have open dialogues and work in partnership with health professionals. But we must also challenge decisions we don’t feel are right and have the confidence to seek second opinions.'
Mary Schumm writes: I'm Mary Schumm, Certitude's Director of Learning Disabilities. I have read the latest Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDer) report, which reveals some shocking statistics that I think it's important to share with you.
At Certitude, we take the health and wellbeing of people we support very seriously. We recognise that we play a vital role in ensuring that people with learning disabilities receive the same standard of health care as everybody else.
It is our responsibility to learn about the health conditions people have or may be prone to so we can ensure the best health outcomes for them.
We must advocate strongly, ask questions, have open dialogues and work in partnership with health professionals. But we must also challenge decisions we don't feel are right and have the confidence to seek second opinions...
Read more of Mary’s comment:
Peter Limbrick writes: Amongst other shocking issues in Mary’s Blog, she mentions dental care. This has long been a problematic issue in the self-care and care of people with learning disabilities. She says:
“I did know that one of the most common causes of death in people with a learning disability is pneumonia and aspiration pneumonia. I didn’t know that tooth decay caused by poor oral care is associated with pneumonia. This is due to increased levels of oral bacteria in the saliva. Tooth decay is a treatable condition. The risk can be minimised in the first place with good oral care.”
I have a particular vivid memory of a UK institution for adults with learning disabilities. One of the first tasks of a ward orderly was to take round the bucket of false teeth. Each toothless resident (inmate) was given at random a top set and a bottom set. Before we decide this comes from an out of date institutional attitude, we should see how we are still treating people with learning disabilities and autism in the UK. We are not out of the dark ages yet. We are not moving in a forward direction.