Resources to support people with learning disabilities during the COVID-19 outbreak by Dr Ruth Wyn Williams, Senior Improvement Manager, Improvement Cymru.

As a learning disability nurse, people with learning disability and their families have always amazed me with their resilience, passion and commitment to strive for what’s right.  During the COVID-19 pandemic people have read, danced, joined music sessions, sang, took part in online quizzes, baked, exercised and there are many more examples of individuals and families being creative whilst staying at home.  For example, the members at Mencap Môn produced a great video to show what they’ve been doing to help look after themselves whilst living with the COVID-19 restrictions.

However, this isn’t everyone’s story and many families have spoken about the challenges they face in trying to maintain their wellbeing during the pandemic.  Not being able to engage with our usual day to day activities, seeing friends and family and feelings of isolation and boredom can have a significant impact on everyone’s lives.  As the Learning Disability Health Improvement Team at Improvement Cymru, COVID-19 has given us the opportunity to work across programmes to support various initiatives.  Still, the key priority of working towards reducing the health inequalities remain a constant across all agendas.  Everyone has the right to access healthcare and under the Equality Act 2010 all disabled people have the right to reasonable adjustments when using public services.  And, people with learning disability have the right to information that may help them find ways to cope with the COVID-19 restrictions. 

The Self-help Booklet series is intended to help individuals to work in partnership with people who have learning disability, to support them to talk about their feelings and make plans for staying well at this difficult time.  The series is published by the University of Glasgow, with assistance from colleagues at Lancaster University, the University of Oxford and the University of Warwick.  Improvement Cymru with the permission of the University of Glasgow have ensured that all the resources are now available in Welsh.

The booklets can be used with the support of family members, friends, volunteers and carers and are also suitable for social work and health professionals. The booklets are intended to give people with learning disability an opportunity to talk through their feelings with people providing support to them.  Each booklet has an accompanying guide explaining how the content can be delivered.  There are booklets about understanding and coping with feeling down and feeling anxious. The other booklets are about important ways of staying well.  They cover a good night’s sleep, staying active and problem solving.  There is also an online film of a relaxation exercise that some people might find helpful.

The resources are free to download and we hope that you’ll find them useful.  

For more information please contact: