The Health Profile will help people with learning disabilities to get good, safe healthcare at the time they need it. People with learning disabilities themselves, their families and carers as well as a wide range of health professionals have been involved in its development and have informed the content and format. The profile contains information about the person’s health, care and support needs and communication. The profile is designed to be owned by the individual and if required a carer can help to complete it.
A review of health communication tools was undertaken by Northway et al (2017) they identified 60 different types of health communication tools in circulation with little consistency in design, content, length and document name. They concluded that this variance would reduce their effectiveness and key information could be missed.
Improvement Cymru commissioned the University of South Wales to undertake further research to identify the key components for a health communication tool, such as important information and optimal length and format. This research was used to develop the Once for Wales Health Profile.
The Once for Wales Health Profile should now be used instead of other learning disability communication tools, such as the hospital passport, and it is designed to be used at all types of health care visits, including GP, optician, dentist and social care.
Ideally people with learning disabilities and/or those who support them should bring their Health Profile with them whenever they access healthcare and should offer this to the healthcare staff that are working with them. It is currently available to download and print.
Use the information in the Health Profile to assist you with providing high quality care for those people with learning disabilities that you work with. It can make a huge difference not only to your ability to provide such care but, most importantly it can also assist you to ensure their safety, their health and well-being and to improve their experience of healthcare.