Pathway for diabetes and learning disabilities published

By Editor
23rd November 2017
Commissioning, Type 1 diabetes Type 2 diabetes

A pathway ensuring the same level of care is provided for people with a learning disability and diabetes has been published.

The NHS RightCare Pathway for Diabetes: reasonable adjustments for people with a learning disability document was developed in collaboration with a range of stakeholders including the NHS England Learning Disability team.

For commissioners, the reasonable adjustments which have been suggested include understanding the population, increasing the uptake of health checks, avoid unnecessary hospital admissions and lengthy hospital stays, while also supporting a healthy lifestyle for all and providing structured education and self-management for everyone within their population affected by diabetes.

The document was created in response to 2014-2015 data extracted from GP practices suggesting the prevalence rates of both types of diabetes were higher in people with a learning disability compared to the general population. Higher rates of obesity were also seen in people with a learning disability compared to those without.

It is thought the risk of type 2 diabetes could be reduced in those with a learning disability if there is a greater understanding of their needs and adapting existing lifestyle programmes to suit them.

The pathway document stated that by addressing the issue and making “reasonable adjustments for those with diabetes and a learning disability” it will only improve diagnosis and detection of the condition but will also reduce diabetes related complications, diabetes related A&E attendance, GP visits and missed appointments.

The guidance also outlines principles of reasonable adjustments that should be considered for equitable access to the optimal diabetes service by those with a learning disability. The document provides links to intelligence, guidance, tools and examples of good practice where reasonable adjustments have been successfully implemented in the care and management of diabetes for people with a learning disability.

It has been developed to be used in collaboration with the NHS RightCare Diabetes Pathway.

The Healthier You: NHS National Diabetes Prevention Programme is also mentioned because organisers are currently looking to pilot programmes adapted for people with a learning disability and will be testing these in different areas of the UK.

To read the pathway in full, click here.

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