Workforce update for 
 services that support people 
 with a learning disability 
 and/or autistic people 

Welcome to this workforce development update for adult social care services that support people with a learning disability and/or autistic people.

It shares the latest news, resources, events and funding opportunities from Skills for Care and partners, and you can find previous newsletters

If you’ve been forwarded this email by a friend or colleague and would like to receive it directly to your inbox you can register to receive updates by creating
an account on the Skills for Care website, and selecting the ‘Learning disability and/or autism’ option under the ‘Areas of interest’ section.
 News from Skills for Care 

Update on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on plans for the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training in learning disability and autism
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Education England (HEE), Skills for Care and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) extended the deadline for tenders for trial and evaluation partners to 24th April.

Once the tenders have been awarded, we’ll negotiate the timeline for delivery, recognising the extraordinary demands on health and social care services and the social distancing measures that are now in place.

We’re committed to ensuring that the delivery of the training trials is ready to be implemented as soon as the wider context permits. We’re continuing to monitor the emerging situation.
Positive behavioural support
We know that at this time, people may need more support around Positive Behavioural Support (PBS). Our webpage has information and useful links.

Here is a link to our list of local communities of practice. If you know one that’s missing, please let us know.

One example is the Avon and Wiltshire Positive Behaviour Support Network who recently produced their 2019 annual summary. This network is a group of individuals committed to promoting the values of PBS. This commitment includes sharing knowledge, skills and resources about PBS with other people and agencies and promoting good practice. The network steering group usually coordinates a monthly programme of free events about PBS and a biannual conference. Presentations from these events are available on their website - and they also have a facebook page.

BILD are also offering specific PBS support right now. They are collecting useful resources as well as developing some in response to frequently answered questions; “Positive Behaviour Support principles for practice during COVID-19”.
 Guidance from the Government and key stakeholders 

New guidance: COVID-19: supporting adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults
New guidance was published on 24 April for care workers and personal assistants who support adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults.
The guidance will help care staff to:
  • keep people with learning disabilities and autistic people safe
  • support them to understand the changes they need to make during the COVID-19 outbreak
  • protect their own wellbeing

The mental health, learning disability and autism COVID-19 cell Future NHS collaboration platform
This online collaborative workspace has been set up for organisational partners, commissioners and key networks to develop and share information and resources. Click here to join.
CQC approach to protecting people sectioned under the Mental Health Act during COVID-19
This Care Quality Ccommission (CQC) blog, published on 8th April 2020, focuses on how the’ll be protecting people’s safety, equality and human rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. This blog has a strong human rights focus and sets out what’s being done to ensure the voices of people in services are being heard at this time, including specific work to reach out to advocacy groups.

An easy read version of the blog is also available here.
Flexibilities around daily exercise for people with learning disabilities and/or autism
The flexibilities around daily exercise more than once a day for individuals with learning disabilities or autism was clarified on 8 April 2020 in Coronavirus (COVID-19): frequently asked questions (FAQs), (no.15):
“If you (or a person in your care) have a specific health condition that requires you to leave the home to maintain your health - including if that involves travel beyond your local area - then you can do so. This could, for example, include where individuals with learning disabilities or autism require specific exercise in an open space two or three times each day - ideally in line with a care plan agreed with a medical professional. Even in such cases, in order to reduce the spread of infection and protect those exercising, travel outside of the home should be limited, as close to your local area as possible, and you should remain at least 2 metres apart from anyone who is not a member of your household or a carer at all times.”

You can view the FAQs here
Autistic people may find it useful to carry an autism alert card in case they need to communicate details of their condition when away from home. Many police forces run their own schemes – for example the London alert card scheme or you can download a printable “I am autistic” PDF from the National Autistic Society.

The National Police Autism Association has a webpage of specific Coronavirus resources which includes a really useful guide written for police officers to help them understand how COVID-19 might affect their interactions with autistic people. Includes a visual summary on pages 12-13 of the current law around social distancing which would be helpful for autistic people.
Clinical guide for frontline staff to support the management of patients with a learning disability, autism or both during the coronavirus pandemic
This document was written for clinicians but has good links which could be helpful for individuals, care providers and families to share with clinicians.

View an easy read version here.
Self-Advocacy groups and families supporting each other via ‘zoom’ meetings
Learning Disability England is hosting a series of sessions for self-advocacy and family’s organisations and groups to help these groups to work differently to keep people safe while staying connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anyone supporting self-advocacy or community groups that include people with learning disabilities is invited to join them to talk about how we can all be supporting each other and the people we know.

View recordings of previous sessions and sign up for upcoming ones here.
COVID-19 specific addition to the hospital passport
A hospital passport provides important information about a person with a learning disability or autistic person, including personal details, the type of medication they are taking, and any pre-existing health conditions. It’s designed to be completed with people who know the person well and then taken to hospital. You should be checking that people you support have had the chance to create one and that it’s up to date.

There are different versions of COVID-19 specific additions to the hospital passport. These may include changes in normal body temperature, instruction not to use to Clinical Frailty Scale or blanket DNACPR, respiratory history, swabs, dates of the start of new cough or fever, changes in behaviour.

PHE are developing a version to be released soon.

Here is an example from Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust.

An example of a COVID-19 specific health action plan for autistic people (available in a range of languages) is available here.
S.C.I.E. new resources on COVID-19: Supporting autistic people and people with learning disabilities
SCIE have published three new guides on supporting autistic people and people with learning disibilities for social workers and occupational therapists; for care staff; and for carers and family.

View the guides here.
Postural care
Sarah Clayton from ‘simple stuff works associates’ has put together videos for people who may be now needing to do more postural care without as much in person support and with fewer opportunities to be physically active. She is working on one for ‘proning’ (positioning people in the best way to help them breathe).

Please share the videos below using the hashtag #posturalcare:
Challenging behaviour foundation COVID-19 resources
The following new resources which may be helpful to individual, families and others supporting people have been uploaded this week, and are now available on their Covid-19 Information page:

Temperature taking - this short information sheet provides some useful tips for taking your relative’s temperature, and signs to look out for which might indicate a high temperature.

Going into hospital with COVID-19 - two resources about behaviour, an information sheet on hand washing, and their legal panel have provided answers to legal questions families have asked.
Coronavirus, people’s voice and advocacy: a myth buster from voiceability
There has probably never been a more important time for people to be able to get independent advocacy to ensure that their voices are heard, and their rights respected. There are myths circulating (such as “The Care Act no longer applies and local authorities no longer need to assess, plan for or meet people’s needs”) but this guide debunks them.
 Accessible resources 
 regarding COVID-19 

Learning Disability England have a hub of accessible COVID-19 resources from various organisations, including easy read and video. They’re using their pages to share information and resources about the virus and what you can to do to stay safe and well, and how people are staying connected and finding solutions. For example, easy read guides on shopping online, using video conferencing, handwashing and hospital passports.

The work they’re doing is to support self-advocates, family members, direct support staff and organisations with dealing with COVID-19 and the changes that means. The resources are in three sections;
  • information and guidance
  • resources that can help
  • connecting people, including webinars.
Other examples include other resources such as Books Beyond Words, e.g. what to do if you have Coronavirus, how to keep yourself and keep those who you care about safe, and self-isolation. Also, resources aimed at family and carers on how to respond when somebody dies from coronavirus. There are also free Easy read Guides to using Microsoft Teams and Zoom to help people with a learning disability and/or autism keep in touch with each other (from ace anglia)
Click here to access the resources.

There are other accessible resources are available via PHE, Mencap, andCHANGE people in Leeds are helping groups to plan and coordinate their work to produce accessible COVID-19 resources so if you need or are developing a particular resource it may be worth contacting them.

 Alternative activities for people 
There is a recognition that due to COVID-19, people might not be accessing their usual range of support and activities outside the home. Online resources can be used to support people especially where there are reduced numbers of staff or when visitors aren’t allowed access. Some activities are for individual people or for people being together while respecting social distancing/shielding guideline. Many self advocacy groups are doing fab stuff online using Instagram or facebook to share activities, you can search for them on the LDE website.
You will need to make sure that each activity is suitable for the person you’re supporting, and do bear in mind that some channels like netflix or youtube will proceed to the next item unless you stop it.

Click here to access a list of online resources.

Click here to access free resources from NAPA.
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