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Nurses' Day 2021 - reflections on the last twelve months from a Learning Disability nurse

Posted by Devon Partnership Trust in #ProudofDPT, Learning disability, News, Nursing on 12th May, 2021

This Nurses' Day, nurses around the world are sharing their nursing stories and experiences, helping to raise the profile of the incredible work they do every day.

Katy, Lead Nurse, Learning Disability Services, shares her reflections on the last twelve months and how her nursing colleagues have worked hard to adapt the way in which they deliver care during the pandemic. Katy says:

"During the pandemic, I think we have seen how flexible and adaptable we have all had to become as nurses. Coming to terms with working from home has been a particular challenge for some. As well as not having the direct contact with people with learning disabilities, we have had to learn how to support people, and their families and carers, differently using virtual technology.

"As Learning Disability nurses we are used to thinking creatively and coming up with solutions. There have certainly been many examples of us using these skills over the last 12 months. I have heard of nursing staff who have dressed up in fancy dress for welfare calls with clients, to help with engagement. The Acute Liaison nurses have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic. They ensured people with learning disabilities admitted to hospital had the necessary reasonable adjustments made to their care and treatment - people with learning disabilities are six times more likely to die if they develop COVID-19.

"Likewise, the Primary Care Liaison Team have more recently seen their workload expand significantly due to the roll out of the vaccine programme. People with learning disabilities have been supported to have the vaccine. Some individuals have required reasonable adjustments to ensure the vaccine was delivered successfully, including getting vaccinated in the car and being able to deliver the vaccine to individuals at home, if needed. With neurology clinics suspended during the pandemic, our Epilepsy Nurses have also been working hard to ensure that clients with complex epilepsy have remained safe.

"The nurses within Intensive Assessment and Treatment Teams (IATT) have also played an enormous role in helping individuals with learning disabilities and the most complex needs to remain at home, reducing the need for hospital admissions during the last year. Not forgetting the work of our inpatient service, the Additional Support Unit. Whilst most of us have had to work from the relative safety of home, staff on the unit have not had that option.

"As Learning Disability nurses we do this type of work every day, it is our “bread and butter”. We don’t see our ordinary as extraordinary but we hope what we do is extraordinary to every individual we have supported and made a positive difference for. Delivering care and treatment every single day throughout this pandemic has not been without its challenges. The commitment of the learning disabilities team has been evident and has been a glowing example of real teamwork."