People with a learning disability have been badly affected by Coronavirus. They have been described as 'disposable bodies' and 'back of the queue' (BBC news).
"It makes people feel bad when they can't get out - you can't see your friends, you can't get on a bus, you can't get outside when the weather is nice."
People with a learning disability are amongst the hardest hit by Coronavirus. There has been a 175% increase of deaths of people with a learning disability in care homes compared to the same month last year (BBC Breakfast, 14th May). People with a learning disability in care homes did not have the same right to a test as older people in care homes until mid May. There is concern that when people with a learning disability become ill with Covid-19 they are not given the treatment they need as they are seen as "disposable".
Without access to the internet and to their normal sources of support people have struggled to understand the guidance around social distancing, self isolating and how to keep safe. We will make sure that people are supported to understand government guidance so that they have the confidence to begin to re integrate into society and access the health and social care support that they need.
"It is hard to understand what the Government says you should do to keep safe."
What we will do
This money will pay for more staff hours so that we can provide advocacy for people with a learning disability in the borough of Greenwich. We will support people to get information in a way that they can understand and to access the support, services and advice that they need. Being isolated at home, very often with no access to the internet, means it has been very hard for people with a learning disability to get the help they need during the pandemic. Many of their regular sources of support have been overwhelmed. We will help to get them back on track - catch up with health checks, get benefits advice, whatever their individual circumstances require.
"I would love to see my friends on a video call."
We are trying to make sure that people with a learning disability have access to the internet in some way, shape or form; smart phones, tablets, laptops. We are making sure that people can maintain their connections with their friends.
"It feels odd not going to work. I miss going there. I miss seeing my Colleagues."
We have paid roles for people with a learning disability within our organisation, as Safe Places Team members, MPs, Quality Checkers and trainers. We want to make sure that the teams can continue to work from home and/or safely in the office so that they can continue to work and earn money and not lose their skills and confidence.
Easy Read Information
We will make sure that people have the information that they need in a way that they can understand. We will produce easy read information to explain current Government guidance. We will share this by post, through other organisations and on our website.
We will use film and pictures to make sure that people know how to keep themselves and others safe. We will make sure that people with a learning disability can access the films by posting out DVDs, putting the films on our website and making sure that other services that support people with a learning disability know about them.
The difference we will make
- People with a learning disability will have access to information about Coronavirus, how to keep safe and the current Government guidance in way that they can understand.
- People will have the one to one support of an advocate to access the health and social care services that they need.
- People with a learning disability will be supported to maintain their friendships and relationships and feel less isolated.
- People with a learning disability will have access to technology to help them to feel less isolated and to be able to carry on with their paid roles.