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P168 Learning disabilities and palliative care: Building bridges – supporting care
  1. Liz Smith and
  2. Allison O’Donnell
  1. The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice, Glasgow, Scotland


Palliative care for people with learning disabilities (PWLD) is often complex but it is vital that these challenges are faced. It is also important to recognise that life limiting illness is more prevalent in the learning disability population and that PWLD die on average 25 years younger than the general population1-2. Increasing numbers of PWLD are living at both ends of the age spectrum with co- morbid conditions and complex health needs and there is a growing need for palliative care provision.­

This project recognises the need for education and the development of robust partnerships which lead to collaborative working, to ensure that PWLD will experience equity in accessing palliative care services.

The aim of the project, funded through Help the Hospices and the Scottish Government, is to bring the two specialities of Palliative Care and Learning Disabilities with Greater Glasgow & Clyde together using a practice development approach. This will provide support to staff in the provision of best quality care for people with Learning Disabilities who have palliative care needs.

Links have been made at both local and strategic levels within both learning disability and specialist palliative care services. All 9 learning disability teams and 6 hospices within NHS GG&C have access to this project.

Strategically the project sits within the current learning disability strategy and although all 6 hospices are independent in their delivery of care, Chief Executives have demonstrated their commitment to the project.

All education events are evaluated and the evaluations have been extremely positive, with staff suggesting that the education provided will have a direct impact on their professional development and provision of best quality patient care for PWLD.

PWLD are at the heart of this project with the ultimate aim being to improve their care.

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