Improvement Cymru has developed an easy read health profile for people with a learning disability to use when accessing health to make sure staff get the right information about the person to provide the best health care that meets the person’s needs. 

A Health Profile will have information about someone’s health, their care and support needs and the best ways to communicate with them. Health and care staff can then use the information in it to better understand and meet the patients’ needs at appointments.

The Health Profile is designed to be as short as possible, so that it can be read quickly which is particularly important in emergency situations. The information in it includes:

  • Personal information and emergency contact
  • Medical history
  • Allergies
  • Medicines, including any support needed to take them
  • Reasonable adjustments needed
  • How to best communicate

It is important that the document is reviewed and updated regularly, especially when there is any change to medication.

Also produced is guidance for families and carers and guidance for health professionals. If staff do not ask to see a health profile, make sure you mention it to them so that it can assist them.

The profile was developed after a research review from the University of South Wales, which included a focus group with people with learning disabilities and stakeholder engagement. 

Professor Ruth Northway, who developed the tool in partnership with Improvement Cymru, said: “People with learning disabilities continue to experience premature deaths and avoidable health problems due to a range of barriers that limit their access to healthcare.

Communication is a key barrier, when people with learning disabilities visit a hospital or medical setting, they can experience difficulty in expressing themselves and getting the care that they need. The Health Profile aims to help address this through providing key information for healthcare staff.

Jean White, Chief Nursing Officer for Wales, said: “This will enable us to improve the quality of health care that people with learning disabilities in Wales will receive. I expect all health care providers to embrace and use this new tool, to improve the services that they provide for our community.

The health profile currently sits on a ‘padlet’ https://padlet.com/ImprovementCymru/healthprofile 

A new website page is being produced by Improvement Cymru so materials can be found more easily.  

Help to fill out the health profile

Dawn Gullis from Cardiff People First is offering help to people to fill in the new health profile if they need support.  Dawn also runs a Tuesday Health Group between 1.00 and 2.00 on zoom for people with a learning disability to come along. They have speakers to talk about health issues such as looking after your eyes and nutrition. Contact Dawn Dawn@cardiffpeoplefirst.org.uk