Summary of report content
Healthwatch Worcestershire undertook research into the experience of people with learning disabilities and autism during the Covid-19 pandemic In total 113 people with a learning disability and / or Autism gave them feedback about their experiences during Covid-19.
Most people felt they have been able to access information about Coronavirus and keeping safe. However, for many this has been through family and support organisations. People were less likely to access information online and many felt information needed to be clearer and in a format that was easy to understand. Although some people told us they have learnt more about online communication and found this helpful over lockdown, some people with a learning disability and Autism may not have online access or be able to use technology to engage online, especially without support or a carer present.
People felt it was important to have kind and supportive staff and procedures in place to help them feel safe when they accessed health services. Concerns were raised about the use of telephone and video appointments, feeling anxious about accessing the services and the changes that had been made and not being able to access regular check-ups, including dental check-ups and those for long term conditions.
Many people said how difficult they have found lockdown, the change to their routine and activities. They felt it was important for them to have care and support from families, support workers and other organisations. However, some people did not feel they had been able to access support for their emotional wellbeing and some had not received the support they have needed at home. Many people who responded to the survey were living at home, some of whom had returned home for lockdown, increasing the caring responsibilities for families
There were 13 recommendations about access to information, how to communicate in an appropriate way and providing support.