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Health facilitation team

Health Facilitation in NI was recommended by the Bamford Report in the Review of Services for People with a learning disability (Equal Lives, 2006) to reduce the inequalities in health experienced by people with Learning disability. SHSCT established the Health Facilitation Service in 2009 with monies from Direct Enhanced Service (DES) funding.

The Health Facilitation Service facilitates healthcare for adults with learning disabilities through delivering Annual Health Checks and Health Action Plans within primary care services and providing additional health promotion/education in a 1:1 basis in patients’ homes or in groups within the day care setting.

The Health Facilitation Service works collaboratively with 70 G.P. surgeries across the SHSCT to deliver the Annual Health Checks, and to liaise with case managers regarding the learning disability population on their caseloads. The Health Facilitation Service case load is approximately 1800 patients, with one Health Facilitator operational within each of the three CLDTs to provide a locality based service.

The Annual Health Check is a systematic review of patients physical and mental health needs which enables the Health Facilitator Nurse to:

  • Identify and follow up unmet health needs in terms of diagnosis and treatment.
  • Support individuals to develop a Health & Wellbeing Action Plan to address their unmet health improvement needs.
  • Communicate outcomes of Annual Health Checks to patients/carers and case managers.
  • Refer to other professionals within the Multi-disciplinary Team.
  • Identify patients who require health screening services and make reasonable adjustments to ensure access to screening.

The completion of annual health checks enables the Health Facilitation Service to instigate/deliver/signpost to group health promotion and health education programmes on an individual basis or in collaboration with others in the CLDTs. The Health Facilitation Service strives to bridge the gap between Community Learning Disability teams and Primary Healthcare, Acute Care and Specialist services by ensuring collaborative working focuses on improving the physical and mental health of people with learning disabilities, reduces the health inequalities and promotes the uptake in screening services.

  • Description of services/opportunities provided

    The Health Facilitation team is a team of Learning Disability Nurses who are specialised in facilitating health care for people with Learning Disabilities. Additionally the Team also has a Health and Wellbeing co-ordinator who provides 1:1 work and group work for people with a learning disability. The Health Facilitation Team of nurses provide all adults with a Learning Disability an annual health check within their GP surgery, and promote health action planning. The service strives to provide a range of advice, support and resources that boost offering reasonable adjustment to support the learning disability population through many aspects of their health. The team is passionate about providing health promotion to the Learning Disability population and this can be achieved on a 1:1 basis or through group work, and often requires the Nurses to liaise with primary care services such as breast, cervical, bowel and AAA screening.

    In SHSCT the majority of GP practices complete annual health checks, and they complete these with the Health Facilitator Nurse who sees the patient first and then the GP last. However, some GPs choose to see their learning disability population on their own and do not use the Health Facilitation Service.

    • Improve the health and wellbeing of the LD population in SHSCT
    • Working across primary and secondary care.
    • Providing annual Health checks
    • Health and Wellbeing plans
    • Health promotion and education on a 1:1 or group work basis
    • Referral work on 1:1 or group work basis
  • Routes to access the service

    All patients with a learning disability will be invited for their health check yearly, alternatively patients/carers can request a health check from their GP surgery if they have not been offered one. A community case manager can check with your local health facilitator nurse if the surgery you are registered with completes annual health checks.

  • Referral criteria
    • Adults with a diagnosed Learning Disability (18years +)
    • Service users known to the SHSCT community Adult Learning Disability Team
    • Service users registered with a G.P. surgery within the SHSCT.
    • Patients registered with a SHSCT G.P. surgery that have a diagnosed Learning disability and do not want/receive a service from SHSCT but who do require health care and follow up from Health Facilitation Nurses.
    • Patients known to GP surgery within SHSCT with suspected Learning Disability that consent to psychometric assessment for diagnosis of learning disability.

    *Additional referrals for health promotion/health education are delivered subject to initial screening process.

    Referrals for physical health/health promotion work can be received from individual clients/patients/carers/family, Multidisciplinary Community LD teams, Primary care services, Secondary care services and Specialist services.

  • Copies of leaflets/ information sheets
  • COVID 19 specific information

    During the peak of Covid-19 Annual health checks were stood down like the rest of the GP surgery clinics. Once things began to open up again Annual health checks were provided over the phone with any immediate concerns followed up within the GP surgery, in light of the Covid-19 situation at present face to face appointments are being delivered and therefore Annual health checks are being completed again within the surgery; everyone invited into the surgery for their annual health check is encouraged to wear a face mask and to only attend their apt if they have no signs/symptoms of Covid-19. Every patient booked in for an annual health check if contacted the day before by the Health facilitator Nurse to complete a pre covid questionnaire to ensure no one has any Covid-19 symptoms. During the annual health check appointment the HFN wears PPE as appropriate, and between every patient appointment the HFN sanitises the surfaces in which patient contact has been made.

  • Links to relevant regional services

    The Health Facilitation Team liaise with cancer screening services such as Bowel screening, Breast screening and AAA screening.

  • Pictures/videos of team members

    The Health Facilitation Team are Brea Crothers (Health Facilitation Nurse Team Lead), Roisin McShane, Cherith Farrell and Jayne Campbell (Health Facilitation Nurses) and Steven Clarke (Health & Well bring Co-Ordinator).

  • Videos

    Annual Health Check service video (filmed pre-covid)

  • Awards won/nominations

    Our Team leader Brea Crothers was awarded Runner up nurse of the year in 2010

  • Makaton signing/easy read

    During Covid-19 The Health Facilitation Team took part in developing easy read material along with Speech and Language Team on the nursing procedures that may be Developed easy read material along with salt for covid / took part in Makaton videos during covid to deliver healthy eating messages.

  • Service user/carer/family testimonials: written &/video
    • Trevor McCune compliment
    • Steve compliment
    • Ja compliment
  • Contact details

    The Health Facilitation Team are a trustwide Service. A Health Facilitator Nurse is within each locality in the Southern Trust; Newry & Mourne, Craigavon & Banbridge and Armagh & Dungannon.

    Facility address & Postcode: The Health Facilitation service delivers Annual Health Checks within primary care and offers health promotion for adults with Learning Disabilities within Newry and Mourne, Armagh and Dungannon and Craigavon and Banbridge localities in the SHSCT.

    • Brea Crothers: Health Facilitation SHSCT Team Lead (37.5hours) Drumcashel House 02830256780
    • Ellen Despard: Health Facilitation Administrator (20hours) Blossom Hall 02837564563
    • Health Facilitation Nurse: Armagh & Dungannon
    • Jayne Campbell: Health Facilitation Nurse: Newry & Mourne area (37.5 hours) Drumcashel House 02830256780
    • Cherith Marshall: Health Facilitation Nurse within Craigavon & Banbridge area (37.5 hours) (Base to be confirmed).
    • Steven Clarke: Health and wellbeing co-ordinator based in day-care (37.5 hours)

    The service is delivered 9-5pm Monday to Friday

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