For Disability Support Workers

For Professionals managing patients with IDA hospital admission for a person with an intellectual disability (ID) can be a confusing and frightening experience resulting in behaviours that are difficult to interpret and manage. The capacity of staff to be able to communicate with the person may be limited. These factors increase the risk that a hospital admission could result in missed diagnosis, inefficient use of resources and an increased length of stay, miscommunication, disjointed discharge planning and disconnection with community resources leading unplanned re-admissions.

Poorer health outcomes and negative hospital experiences for people with ID living in supported accommodation has been reported by NSW Ombudsman (1) and the NDS have reported high rates of adverse outcomes (2) in addition people with ID and their carers have told us that they often feel ignored and disrespected when in hospital.

The positive or negative experiences that a person with ID experiences in a NSW hospital depends largely on effective communication between disability support staff, the disability team leader, hospital staff and community based health services.

The Admission2Discharge (A2D) Together Folder was created to facilitate timely transfer of relevant and current information to enable hospital staff to meet the needs of people with ID and thereby improve their hospital journeys and health outcomes.

Access A2D Together Folder Resources
Access A2D Together Folder Training

Disability professionals’ play an important role in planning for, and supporting people with intellectual disability when they go to hospital in a planned or unplanned (emergency) way. Good communication between the person, their family / guardian, medical / hospital staff, disability professional is essential and can make a significant difference to the person’s health outcomes, their hospital experience and their quality of life.

The Admission2Discharge (A2D) Together Folder is designed to assist disability and health professionals work together with a shared understanding of the person’s specific individual/ health needs.

The key to a successful hospital experience for the person is to be prepared for ALL hospital admissions before they happen. This can be achieved when the disability professional has a clear understanding of the many obstacles and challenges that people with intellectual disability experience in NSW hospitals, is provided with relevant “going to hospital” training and ensures that the person with intellectual disability has a current A2D Together Folder and, it is ready to go to hospital with the person at any time.

Benefits of the A2D Together Folder;

  • Easy access to the person’s medication and medical information
  • Important information to keep the person safe in the hospital setting
  • Person’s specific communication needs, unique signs and behaviours
  • Strategies to support the person if they become distressed
  • Contact details for the person responsible/ Guardian/support staff
  • Access to additional support plans necessary to maintain person’s health and wellbeing during their hospital stay
  • Make it easier for health professional to do their job
  • Improve the hospital journey for person