EMERGENCY health services for adults and children with autism and Asperger's syndrome have become more accessible thanks to a growing team of specialists.
The Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust has appointed its third acute liaison nurse for learning disabilities to expand their service to include these autistic spectrum disorders. The team help children and adults with a learning disability or autism when they visit one of the RCHT hospitals in Penzance, Truro and Hayle and give them any additional support they may need.
Under the Equality Act and Autism Act, NHS Trusts are required to make 'reasonable adjustments' to ensure equal access to health care services. This includes ensuring information is appropriate - for example creating easy read information relating to each patient's specific condition.
Daniella Rubio-Mayer has joined the team at the Truro hospital after working in a similar role in Nottingham for three years. The service was set up in 2007 with the appointment of Zoe McLean as the first liaison nurse, a second nurse, Ruth Kimberley joined the team 18 months ago.
Zoe said: "In the past patients with autism and Asperger's have been referred to us and it has been about helping them with reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act. Now by formally adopting this group of patients, we are ensuring the trust meets the statutory requirements in the Autism Act and we can offer a fuller service."
The team educates and supports staff on how to meet the needs of people with learning disabilities in hospital and how they can help. Zoe said: "All patients with a learning disability and autism should be referred to our service. In order to ensure they access the help available, we are working hard actively promoting the service to patients, families, the Community Team and across the hospitals to staff."
The team works with patients to help develop the services on offer and highlight where improvements could be made, and accepts referrals from individuals, families and staff. Contact them on email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07765221848 (bleep 3053).