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 here.

We hope that you helped to celebrate Learning Disability Week 2020 (15 - 21 June) with its focus on friendships during lockdown. We have enjoyed seeing all your activities on social media. You can follow Skills for Care on Twitter (@skillsforcare).
 News from Skills for Care 

Learning Disability Week 2020
In celebration of Learning Disability Week 2020 and to highlight the importance of maintaining relationships and support, here are two experiences of people with learning disabilities of surviving COVID-19.

Annella, is a 42-year-old woman with Down syndrome and autism. She lives in a supported living home with six other people. She shares her experience of contracting COVID -19, spending some time in hospital and how she was supported by her manager.
Things took a turn for the worst for me in a matter of 24 hours, one minute I was at home relaxing, the next day I was being taken to hospital and could not eat nor drink. The next few days were quite scary for me as I had to stay in the hospital with faces that I hadn’t seen before, but having somebody from home coming to support me every day made things a lot easier and before I knew it, I was eating and drinking again. The nurses were telling me I would be able to go home soon; I was really looking forward to this even though I still felt a little bit dizzy when I stood up. Finally, the day for my discharge came and I was taken home and carried up the stairs by the paramedics. Support staff explained that I would have to be isolated for a period of time. But I didn’t mind this much, as it meant I got the whole lounge to myself! As the days passed, I began to get my strength back and feel like my old self, I was back listening to music daily and taking my own laundry basket back to my room. I just want to eat breakfast with my housemates again, only a few days left now… Then the day came when I was told I could move around the house freely, this could not have come any sooner, I really missed sitting outside the office, sharing biscuits with the staff and keeping my key worker company. I missed coming down and enjoying the company of my housemates while I ate my lunch, I am thankful that I was checked on every day by staff and helped a great deal by the community nurse who came daily with my medication. Having a support system around me really helped me adjust and transition back to normality after my battle with COVID 19. Thank you all so much.

Beryl is a 55-year-old woman with moderate learning disabilities. She shares her experience of being hospitalised twice and eventually being confirmed with COVID-19.
I don’t really remember much about becoming ill; I just remember waking up in a hospital bed and being told I had a seizure twice! I was so afraid, as well as confused as I had never had a seizure before this and now I am being told I need to wait here until my COVID results come back. Things could be worse I suppose, at least my keyworker is bringing me my favourite magazines and snacks every day. I wonder how my house mates are. Almost two weeks went by before it was ok for me to go home. It felt so good to be back, apart from the fact I couldn’t explore the house like I usually do. I am now having my breakfast brought to me as I can’t go in the kitchen… maybe this isn’t all bad... Maybe I will do more of this self-Isolation thing. I have spent much of my recovery relaxing and catching up on my favourite shows on TV, I am also really looking forward to going back to karaoke at the gate once the lockdown ends, until then I will just sing in the house. I am just happy to be feeling back to myself again and not so confused! Everything just happened so fast but now I am getting better it felt good to hear staff reassure me that I was safe when I asked. I am really looking forward to getting my full independence back, the very day after the period of my isolation finished I hoovered the whole house and it felt really good to walk from the top to the bottom saying good morning to all of my house mates, I really missed making my own breakfast as well. I am so excited about feeling the sunshine on my face and getting some fresh air on my first walk to the shops with my keyworker, it feels like it has been a long time coming. I truly appreciate those who have helped me survive this, as my fight with COVID was very tough but “I wasn’t going to let it beat me, I had to give it a “Kung Fu Kick”.
 Guidance from the Government and key stakeholders 

COVID-19: Guidance for supported living and home care was withdrawn on 13 May 2020, and further guidance is under development. For advice on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in supported living settings and in home care settings please click here.

COVID-19 – community support
Working Safely in Care Homes guidance was updated on the 15 June 2020 and includes a specific section (section 3) on supporting people with a learning disability and/or autism and the use of PPE. This includes some guidance on risk assessments where the person is pulling off the mask/PPE of workers.
To access the guidance please click here.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) - People receiving direct payments
This guidance helps people who buy care and support through a direct payment to know how and when they can use the CJRS to furlough employees during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. It includes examples of when direct payment holders may or may not choose to use the CJRS. To access the guidance please click here.

The Department for Health and Social Care have produced an easy read guide for people receiving direct payments.
Safer travel guidance
People should now be wearing a fabric face covering on public transport. You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a good reason not to (this is known as a ‘reasonable excuse’ in the regulations). This includes:
  • not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
  • if you use lip reading to communicate, the person supporting you to use public transport does not have to wear a covering
  • you do not have to wear a covering if you are using public transport to escape danger
  • you can take the covering off is you need to eat drink or take medication.
To access the guidance please click here.
If you cannot wear a face covering, then you need to think carefully about whether your journey is essential or what else you could do to keep as safe as possible.
Accessibility and exception cards information is available here.
Deaths of people with learning disabilities in England during COVID-19
A blog by Gary Boutlet, Engagement lead with LDA discusses the Care Quality Commission (CQC) report showing the number of deaths of people with learning disabilities during COVID19. Read the blog here.

A blogpost by Chris Hatton who is an academic at the Centre for Disability Research at Lancaster University, tries to sum up the main issues coming out of the information released so far on the deaths of people with learning disabilities during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in England. Read the blog here.

In an article in Home Care Insight, Mencap voice concern regarding the number of Covid deaths involving people with a learning disability. Dr Rhidian Hughes, chief executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) calls for the government to be more inclusive of all groups using social care services, including those with a learning disability. Read the article here.
 Psychological support for people with a learning
 disability during COVID-19 

Supporting people with a learning disability through trauma
BILD have produced a resource for families, professionals and care staff who support people with a learning disability. This includes everyone in health, social care, employment support, primary care, housing & education in the voluntary & private sector. It provides guidance on people most at risk of trauma, how people with learning disabilities may be at greater risk of trauma and how best to support them.
Access the resource here.
The British Psychological Society - Meeting the psychological needs of people with a learning disability during COVID-19
People with learning/intellectual disabilities in the UK are experiencing the Covid-19 pandemic in different ways. Their responses will vary across time as the situation continues to unfold. This document provides guidance on how to address the psychological needs of people with learning/intellectual disabilities, as well as the needs of their families and associated care staff.
Access the resource here.
Role of health professionals and therapists in supporting people with learning disabilities during the coronavirus pandemic
This leaflet has been put together by the Learning Disability Professional Senate to describe how the different professions can support families and carers during the current coronavirus crisis. Each local area will have different access routes to these professionals, which may be via their GP or through direct access to their local Learning Disabilities Community Team.
Access the leaflet here.
 Guidance and views from other key stakeholders 

Supporting people with a learning disability who struggle with the COVID-19 PPE requirements
Interaction with workers wearing PPE might cause some people with learning disabilities distress, potentially leading to an increase in challenging behaviour. The Challenging Behaviour Foundation have produced a resource with some information about desensitising people to PPE.
Access the resource here.
Safeguarding the lives of people with learning disabilities and autistic people
CEO of Voiceability, Jonathan Senker, shares views of what the government must do to safeguard the lives of people with learning disabilities or autism during the coronavirus pandemic including fair access to testing, consideration as to whether people are safer in other settings and reducing the mobility of staff between settings.
Read the article here.
Social Work Capabilities: New resources on work with autistic adults and adults with a learning disability
New resources from the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) will help social workers, employers and educators to co-produce relevant, effective learning and development opportunities, in partnership with people with lived experience. The resources include toolkits for social workers; ‘critical friend’ resources for people with lived experience; self-assessment tools for employers; and curriculum outlines for higher education institutions.
To find out more click here.
The Learning Disabilities Professional Senate has put together a collection of easy read resources that may be useful to support people with learning disabilities/autism during the coronavirus restrictions.
  • Activities and tips around testing and staff wearing masks for people with learning disabilities and/or autism in any setting. Access the resource here.
  • Activity ideas for people with learning disabilities in in-patent units whilst in isolation. (20 April 2020). Access the resource here.
Stay inside: Be Inspired by United Response
New resources from United Response focus on the use of active support to enable families and support staff to develop the skills needed to support people with learning disabilities and/or autism in staying active, trying new things and creating structure and routine. Access the resource here.

Staying active during COVID-19
Disability Rights UK’s Get Yourself Active programme is working with Sense to find out how disabled people have been staying active during the coronavirus outbreak, and if there is anything more support needed to keep people active during this time.The project will be creating useful resources that reflect the views and experiences that have been shared through this survey. Participants will be entered into a draw to win one of two Amazon vouchers. The deadline is 17 July.

Easy read information about the survey is available here.

Take the survey.

Practice Considerations: Mental Health Act Restricted Patients and Conditional Discharge.
This guidance has been developed by clinicians to support their peers and colleagues in progressing the clinical pathway for Mental Health Act (MHA) Restricted Patients, namely those on sections 37/41 sections 47/49 or CPI (restricted)1 and those conditionally discharged in the community.
Access the guidance here.
Recorded webinar on decision making and changing
COVID-19 guidance

This webinar hosted by Learning Disability England and delivered by Steve Broach and Alex Ruch Keene from 39 Essex Chambers focused on existing and new legislation affected by Covid-19. It also considered issues in implementing it, what good decision making and advance planning looks like under current circumstances. It covered the basic principles of law underpinning decision making, such as the Mental Capacity Act and DoLS and covered issues like restrictions on people living with people shielding, track & trace responsibilities and decision making about the risks associated with balancing infection control and well-being.
To view click here.
DNRs: A new guide for ‘knowing your rights’
Do Not Resuscitate orders have been placed on some peoples’ medical files because they have a learning disability rather than because they were ill enough to need one. This practice is illegal and against medical guidance. The guide talks about what people’s rights are and how to challenge or take action against DNR orders that should not be in place.
Access the guide here.
 Positive Behaviour Support 
UK PBS Alliance webinars
A webinar on ‘grading systems for behaviour support plans’ with Dr Brian McClean is now available to view here.

During this interactive session participants filled in a survey to grade the behaviour support plans presented. You can take part in the survey here.

The next webinar will be on 5 August 2020, 12-1pm, in which Laura Higgins will be presenting on implementing PBS in a forensic service through a practice leadership model. More information about the webinar including registration will be available shortly from the UK PBS alliance here.

Other useful resources
  • A series of webinars to support enabling environments for people with learning disabilities and autistic people despite the lockdown and other restrictions. Access here.
  • BILD PBS Development Lead, Tom Evans, has created a useful resource to support PBS in this particularly challenging period. Download here.
  • The UK PBS Alliance has produced a PBS Workforce Development Framework. Access the framework here.
 Other resources to help you  

Reasonable Adjustments Flag
The Reasonable Adjustment Flag lets doctors, nurses and other health and care staff know that a patient has a disability or other impairments and has specific needs that require adjustments so they get the best care.
More information is available via the NHS website here.
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