Case study 4.1

Imagine that you are working on the ward that Jamal is going to be admitted to.

  • How can you work with other people before, during and after his admission to ensure that he is safeguarded?
  • Who will you need to work with?

In thinking about how best to safeguard Jamal during his forthcoming hospital admission it is important to first consider what you know about him, his likes and dislikes, the support he requires and who might be able to provide you with this information. This is so that you can provide person-centred care and ensure that his needs are appropriately met. The scenario notes that he has only limited verbal communication but that he tends to communicate through his behaviour. This means that it is important to find out from people who know him well how he communicates his needs.

As this is a planned admission it may be possible to speak with the carers that usually support him before he is admitted so that this information can be gathered and recorded. One way of doing this is by developing what is known as a ‘hospital passport’. This is a document that records information about individuals with learning disabilities (e.g. their communication, health and support needs along with their preferences and dislikes) so that it can be taken to hospital with them to assist hospital staff who may not know the individual well. However, if such a document is developed it is important that it is shared with all members of the ward team so that they can provide appropriate support. For example, to avoid causing additional stress to Jamal it would be better not to offer him orange juice or to touch his head unless absolutely necessary.

There is other information in the case scenario that you could use to make Jamal’s stay as safe as possible. For example it states that he likes music, the company of other people and to have lots of activities. It may, therefore, be appropriate to ensure that he has music to listen to and activities to keep him occupied while in hospital. It may be possible for a member of his care staff or family to stay on the ward with him to support him.

It is also important to consider his safety when he is discharged. Jamal will not be able to communicate any special support he needs as a result of having the operation to his care staff so it is essential that ward staff ensure that his support staff have a good understanding of any specific requirements.