Co-Production Learning Disabilities & Autism Real Lives

Experts of lived-experience exceed expectation

Dianne and Susan

Diane and Susan are twin sisters from the Black Country who have really made a difference through their work in co[1]production. The sisters, who both have a Learning Disability, offer their expertise of lived-experience in order to shape improvements within healthcare. Diane and Susan have been involved in the improvement of healthcare services for people with Learning Disabilities. People who have Learning Disabilities face many barriers throughout their lives, including health inequalities, and Diane and Susan are the influence of change in the healthcare field as they encourage healthcare professionals to be more inclusive and value all patients equally.

Diane and Susan, supported by Dudley Voices for Choice, facilitate the training of healthcare providers. In settings such as universities and hospitals, the ladies deliver a SIMS workshop and have, to date, trained up to 500 healthcare professionals. The workshops are intended to replicate a clinical setting, where[1]by, Susan and Diane act as inpatients with learning disabilities and provide their valued experience. The ladies, through role-play, create barriers that encourage trainee healthcare professionals to think outside of the box and communicate effectively with people with learning disabilities by making reasonable adjustments to their practice. The over-arching goal being to improve communication in a more patient-focused way. The SIMS training, therefore, identifies barriers with communication and highlights methods that improve the hospital experience and the hospital environment – making it more comfortable, comprehensible and less stressful for patients with learning disabilities. Susan and Diane’s input helped to improve the knowledge and experience of everyone involved through providing an insight into life with a learning disability and day-to-day struggles that accompany this.

Diane and Susan were invited by the Royal Wolverhampton Trust to take part in a co-production initiative with a difference – an initiative involving the design and implementation of a logo that identifies an inpatient with a learning disability. The ladies represented the learning disability community and were supported throughout the process by the University of Wolverhampton and Dudley Voices for Choice.

Diane and Susan, supported by Dudley Voices for Choice, facilitate the training of healthcare providers. In settings such as universities and hospitals, the ladies deliver a SIMS workshop and have, to date, trained up to 500 healthcare professionals. The workshops are intended to replicate a clinical setting, where[1]by, Susan and Diane act as inpatients with learning disabilities and provide their valued experience. The ladies, through role-play, create barriers that encourage trainee healthcare professionals to think outside of the box and communicate effectively with people with learning disabilities by making reasonable adjustments to their practice.

The over-arching goal being to improve communication in a more patient-focused way. The SIMS training, therefore, identifies barriers with communication and highlights methods that improve the hospital experience and the hospital environment – making it more comfortable, comprehensible and less stressful for patients with learning disabilities. Susan and Diane’s input helped to improve the knowledge and experience of everyone involved through providing an insight into life with a learning disability and day-to-day struggles that accompany this. Diane and Susan were invited by the Royal Wolverhampton Trust to take part in a co-production initiative with a difference – an initiative involving the design and implementation of a logo that identifies an inpatient with a learning disability. The ladies represented the learning disability community and were supported throughout the process by the University of Wolverhampton and Dudley Voices for Choice.

Since Diane and Susan delivered their workshop, the logo has now been launched. Alongside this, a co-production poster and a p o s t e r a i m e d at sharing the logo and its meaning in all clinical settings has been published. Both of the posters were designed alongside Diane and Susan and their lived-experience proved to be invaluable to the design and structure of this healthcare improvement

Kirsty

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