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Nurse researchers sought for learning disability project

Learning disability nurses have been encouraged to apply for funding for a project that aims to improve access to urgent and emergency care for people with a learning disability.

The funding call comes as part of the RCN Foundation’s Inclusive Health – Enhancing the lives of individuals with learning disabilities programme, which provides grants to support research to address health inequalities for people with a learning disability.

“Research is urgently needed in this area”

Deepa Korea

This year, the charity is looking to fund an individual or an organisation to co-design a tool which will assist people with a learning disability to access urgent and emergency care in times of ill health.

The project will be based upon an analysis of the current experiences of those accessing the services and using learnings from this to come up with suggestions to improve access.

It must also look to explore the impact that learning disability nurses working within these services have on tackling health inequalities.

The RCN Foundation said that the lived experience of people with a learning disability must be central to the project and subsequent design of the tool, with their voice present throughout.

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In addition, the proposal should include perspectives from all four countries of the UK and must consult with nursing and midwifery staff who care for people with a learning disability across health and social care services.

Deepa Korea, RCN Foundation director, told Nursing Times that while access to urgent and emergency care was “critically important for all of us”, people with a learning disability often find it challenging to navigate these services when they need them.

She said: “With limited evidence about the experiences and outcomes for people with a learning disability who are accessing healthcare through this route, and no real information about what provision is made for them by emergency services, research is urgently needed in this area.

“This funding call is therefore a real opportunity for [registered learning disability nurses], working closely with people with a learning disability, to develop a practical, evidence-based tool that will improve access to urgent and emergency care.”

The funding available is up to the value of £30,000 and the project will run over a 12-month period.

Applications for the grant close at 5pm on 20 March 2024.

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