Article Text

Download PDFPDF

P-22 Death, dying and learning disabilities
  1. Alice Spearing
  1. St Richard’s Hospice, Worcester, UK


Background People with learning disabilities have poorer health than the general population and experience health inequalities in a number of different ways (JSNA Briefing on Learning Disabilities. Worcestershire County Council, 2018). LeDeR (The Learning Disabilities Mortality Review, 2018) suggest a disparity in the age of death for people with learning disabilities and the general population to be 23 years for males and 27 years for females.

Aims Ensure hospice care is seen as an option for people with a learning disability at the end of life with increased external awareness, improved access, internal education and supporting conversations in the community about death and end of life with people with a learning disability.

Methods St Richard’s Hospice made three pledges in the SpeakEasy NOW White Paper on Growing Older and End of Life. As a result we have started an internal learning disability working group and work in partnership with SpeakEasy NOW to improve knowledge and access to end of life care for people with learning disabilities.

Results In partnership with SpeakEasy NOW:

  • Created a bespoke easy–read hospice leaflet which has been peer reviewed by people with a learning disability;

  • Filmed a video with people with learning disabilities on why and how to talk to loved ones about end of life wishes;

  • Hosted a free event on growing older and end of life for people with a learning disability and their carers involving information stalls and interactive workshops;

  • Exploring learning disability champions in hospice clinical teams;

  • Exploring hosting conversation events across the county about end of life with people with learning disabilities.

Conclusion St Richard’s Hospice is committed to ensuring everyone who has a specialist palliative care need has access to appropriate support. In partnership with SpeakEasy NOW, we are improving access, awareness and conversations about death and dying with people with a learning disability and their loved ones.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.