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Improved support for people with a learning disability and/or autism

Users, providers and commissioners in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent share what they’ve achieved in supporting people with learning disabilities and/or autism in a series of videos.

As part of the Transforming Care Partnership1 (TCP), providers of these services work closely with Staffordshire County Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, the six Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to improve the support available to children, young people and adults with learning disabilities and/or autism. To support people in the best way possible, this programme focuses on preventing admissions to hospital when it’s not necessary and discharging those who have been an inpatient for a long time.

Jo, a resident at Leonard’s Croft – a care home for people with autism – said: “Since moving to Leonard’s Croft I have more freedom to go out into the community when I want. In hospital, I didn’t have much freedom – I could only go out on community leave once a week.

“Now, I’ve got the kitchen available to me full time and, with support from staff, I can do the cooking. I’ve been preparing the dinner for the other residents since I moved over there.”

Heather Johnstone, Senior Responsible Officer for the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent TCP and Director of Nursing and Quality at the CCGs said: “We have worked closely with both local authorities and service providers over the past few years to improve the experiences of people in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent with learning disabilities and/or autism. This programme has allowed us to completely transform the lives of people living with learning disabilities and/or autism by supporting them to live more fulfilling lives.

“Our series of videos demonstrate the challenges we have faced, what we have learned and how we have made a different to users and families.”

Barnaby Cunningham, Regional Operations Director at Cygnet Healthcare, one of the providers part of the TCP, said: “Our journey started with the CCGs in 2015, to look at how we could develop our services from being an acute provider to services in the community.

“In Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, there was a need for local services to support people with learning disability and/or autism rather than referring them out of area. This was key to ensuring people were close to family and friends and within their local communities.

“We achieved this by working closely with users, families and commissioners to develop the local market and ensure there were local services for local people.”

Over the past few years, the TCP has supported a focus on discharging people from hospital and helping them to transition to a more independent form of living. The successes in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent have allowed local patients to be independent as they can be in their own home and allow them to flourish.

The series of videos can be accessed here and include clips from all providers, both local authorities and commissioners describing the challenges, learnings and how a difference has been made to people with a learning disability and/or autism – there are also videos from users including Jo from Leonard’s Croft.