Learning Disability Homes

Developing a new palliative care programme for people with a learning disability

What we do is good but this will make it better… it will make it more complete

Learning disability care home manager on the launch of the Palliative Care Programme

The Care Home Project Team at St Christopher’s, along with the Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), launched a new a palliative care initiative this summer – specifically for Residential Learning Disability Homes in Croydon.

The Programme aims to work alongside the Learning Disability Community Health team and Health Care Professionals and is testament to the established history of good work between St Christopher’s Hospice and Croydon CCG.

Croydon has a very large number of Learning Disability Residential Care Homes (60 services in total). The project’s aim is to develop the knowledge and skills of staff working in these care homes in providing palliative care. It does not focus on just the last year of life but instead focusses on the person’s health needs now by reviewing the physical and mental health of the person and looking at their overall wellbeing. The team are taught to observe the resident for changes and decline and to put a plan in place for these changes that meet the person’s needs. This does include planning for end of life care.

This project is based on the Steps to Success Programme for end of life care

This programme has been adapted for use in Learning Disability homes to better suit their context and their resident’s needs.

Recruitment of 20 homes has now taken place with no one saying ‘no’. And, on 25 July, managers and their deputies from all 20 Learning Disability Residential Homes from Croydon attended the launch of the programme at St Christopher’s. Lucky Hussain, the commissioner for Croydon CCG, also attended and gave a presentation on why they are supporting the programme.

All Care Homes who have signed up remain committed and enthusiastic in implementing this programme. One manager said: “What we do is good but this will make it better… it will make it more complete”.

As a team we will also be collecting a lot of audit data which will hopefully provide evidence of how this programme is changing practice within the home. Exciting times ahead!

For more information please contact Fran Conway, Care Home Project Team, on f.conway@stchristophers.org.uk