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Help for people with learning disabilities and autism during the coronavirus pandemic

Do you have learning disabilities or autism? Maybe someone you care for does?

If you are worried about getting help for your health then we want to help you understand how to get the treatment you need. This is even more important with the coronavirus around.

COVID-19 is a new illness. Lots of people call it coronavirus.  It can affect your lungs and your breathing which can give you a cough and/or a high temperature.

It can also cause a loss of or change in your normal sense of smell or taste.

It is important that you stay at home right now, but if you have a medical condition or injury which needs treatment, the NHS is still here to look after you.

Health services can change to give you what you need. Did you know that you (or your carer) can ask for what are known as ‘reasonable adjustments’ to be made to help you? A reasonable adjustment is when somebody changes how they do things to make it better for you.

For example, you can ask your GP, or other healthcare professionals, to:

  • use pictures, large print or simpler words so that you understand what's happening and what they are telling you
  • book longer appointments so you don’t feel rushed
  • put an appointment at the beginning or the end of the day so that your usual routine isn’t interrupted as much.

If you feel unwell, make sure you get help so that your problem doesn’t get worse. Have a look at this easy read guide about getting the help you need during the corona virus outbreak and if you don’t know which service you need, pick up the phone and dial 111.

If you do need to see an NHS worker, they might look different. They might be wearing personal protective equipment, or PPE. This is when health workers wear extra protection including a face mask, a face shield, gloves and a gown. They wear this so they can work safely and help stop coronavirus spreading to other people.

We all need to be able to talk to our doctors and nurses, and they need to be able to talk to us. This includes if you are deaf. You might need a BSL interpreter now because you can’t ask family and friends to support you, or you can’t lip-read because someone is wearing a mask.

Two organisations called SignHealth and InterpreterNow have joined together to make a service called BSLHealthAccess. This lets you get BSL interpreters for free when you are communicating with health staff at any time of day, every day of the week. You can do this using the InterpreterNow app on your phone or tablet.

This is a step-by-step video that shows you how to sign up and download the InterpreterNow app.

To find out more about BSLHealthAccess you can visit their website.

You can get general information about support for those with learning disabilities from the NHS website HERE

Find out how you can access different services with this easy-read guide.

If you are struggling with worries or anxiety the community teams are still here to help you.  Find the best telephone number below for where you live.

East Berkshire: 0300 365 0300 or 0300 365 9999 

North East Hampshire and Surrey: 0800 915 4644

We hope you are all keeping well and if you would like some Easy Read information on how to look after your feelings and your body during the Coronavirus outbreak click HERE

Mencap is a national charity working to give those with learning disabilities a voice and you can find a lot of helpful information and support on their website by clicking HERE or by calling 0808 808 1111

If you are a carer there is support for you too.  Please visit our information pages HERE to find out more.  

Frimley Health and Care