Boosting health for people with learning disabilities

Part 1 – Every contact counts

Residents of The Hollies supported living accommodation in Bolton were given the special treatment last month (18 and 25 October) thanks to a great local partnership approach and support from the prestigious Queens Nurse Institute (QNI).

GP Federation nurses, along with Learning Disability (LD) nurses from the Council’s LD Team and the Bolton NHS FT Health Improvement Practitioners (HIPs), came together to visit the residents, giving them their Covid-19 booster jabs, flu jabs, and their annual health checks all in one session. Staff members were also offered their flu and Covid vaccines.

GP Federation Chief Nurse, Kath Arrowsmith, said:

“People with learning disabilities are some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. They have poorer health outcomes and often have difficulty in accessing services, which is why it is so important that we do what we can to protect them as much as possible.

“This integrated, joined-up working has been incredibly successful and it’s been a pleasure to get this off the ground with our partners.”

Thanks to funding provided by the QNI – awarded to the Bolton LD team to help improve health outcomes for people with learning disabilities – everyone who had a health check was also awarded a fitness tracker. They will take part in a virtual walk to Blackpool to encourage them to understand the importance of walking and keeping fit to stay healthy.

Part 2 – ‘Quiet clinic’ gets residents smiling

Over 80 residents with learning disabilities attended a special ‘quiet’ clinic this month (18 November) at the GP Federation vaccination clinic at Market Place Shopping Centre, Bolton Town Centre.

Organised in partnership with Bolton Council’s Learning Disability Team, residents were full of smiles and ‘over the moon’ after getting their Covid booster vaccines at the clinic.

A team of specialist Learning Disability nurses from Bolton Council, worked alongside GP Federation staff and their most experienced volunteers to make the clinic quiet, calm and welcoming for the residents.

GP Federation Chief Nurse, Kath Arrowsmith, said:

“This special clinic is part of our ongoing work in partnership with the Council’s Learning Disability Team to ensure that our most vulnerable members of the Bolton community are able to get their Covid-19 booster vaccines.

“It was lovely to see the smiles on their faces and to chat with them. There was a real sense of appreciation at getting their booster. Many of them talked about feeling better protected and how they’re getting excited that Christmas is coming and being able to spend it with friends and family.”

During the clinic, staff from The Entertainer, also based in the Market Place Shopping Centre, kindly donated stickers for everyone who attended the clinic.

Sarah getting her vaccination

“If anyone is worried about coming for their vaccine, they don’t need to worry, you just feel a quick pinch and it’s all over. Nothing to worry about at all.”