Covid-19: Learning Disability and Autism Report

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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.

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General details

Report title 
Covid-19: Learning Disability and Autism Report
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Worcestershire
Date of publication 
Tuesday, 22 September, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Wednesday, 27 May, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 28 August, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Health inequalities
Health promotion
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Quality of care
Staff attitudes
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice
Secondary care services 
Inpatient care
Social care services 
Adult social care

Details about conditions and diseases

Types of disabilities 
Learning or understanding or concentrating
Types of long term conditions 
Learning disability

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.