PATIENTS with learning difficulties in South Tyneside are having their hospital fears eased thanks to a new DVD.
The Focus on Health DVD features people with learning disabilities who experienced everything from operations and MRI scans to explaining the implications of diabetes and visiting the dentist.
The film was made with a £10,000 grant from the Learning Disabilities Partnership Board, which provides guidance, information and an advocacy service for people within the borough.
The idea came from South Tyneside Health Focus Group, which is made up of learning disability service users.
Tracy Dawson, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s assistant head of learning disability services, said: “Having to go into hospital for a test or procedure can be a frightening prospect for anyone.
“The health focus group members were asked what had frightened or made them anxious and, from their personal experiences, we drew up a list of eight topics for the DVD.
“They were then filmed ‘walking through’ the process from appointment to actually having the procedure.
“The result is an easy-to-understand guide to accessing health services, which will help to alleviate anxiety for service users, their families and carers.
“It is also valuable from the health professional’s perspective, as it demonstrates how to make reasonable adjustments to the way they work to ensure the best possible patient experience for people with a learning disability.”
The DVD was launched at the Central Library in South Shields.
Mrs Dawson presented a certificate to each member of the health focus group in recognition of their participation in the project.
Copies have already been distributed to people who will benefit from the DVD, and it is hoped each GP practice in South Tyneside will also be supplied.