Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

Care of older people

Regular health checks needed for older people with learning disabilities to reduce late diagnosis, NICE says

Older people with learning disabilities should have annual health assessments to help monitor their health more effectively, according to new guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

According to the guidance, older people with learning disabilities are more likely to develop serious health problems, such as epilepsy or pneumonia. But because they can find it difficult to express their needs and be heard, late diagnosis of these conditions can lead to increased mortality.

“Communicating symptoms is never easy, but for people with learning disabilities it can be particularly difficult,” explained Margaret Lally, chair of the NICE guidance committee.

“Health problems, such as hearing loss or dementia, can easily be masked by someone’s behaviour when they have a learning disability.

“As people grow older, we need to make sure that they are receiving regular health checks — this will allow continuous assessment and quick access to specialist services when necessary.”

NICE advises that annual health checks are recorded in a tailored ‘health action plan’ that can be updated to detail the support that an individual needs to remain healthy.

The guidance also says that as patients grow older, staff should be proactive, set up plans in advance, and consider the needs of their family and carers to ensure that the patient can maintain important relationships through any changes.

The guidance also advises local authorities to ensure there are opportunities for people growing older with learning disabilities to socialise and be active in their communities. For example, through social clubs or exercise classes at local gyms and swimming pools.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204659

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary images

  • Young man checking older woman's blood pressure

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.