Learning Disability Nurse provides outstanding support to help patient turn his life around

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For International Nurses’ Day on 12 May, we spoke to Kieran, 27 from Notts, who has received outstanding support from Claire Litchfield, Specialist Learning Disability Community Nurse, at Nottinghamshire Healthcare over the past 18 months.

As part of her support, Claire ensured Kieran got the care he needed when he became seriously unwell.

Kieran said: “I have had quite a hard life, I’ve been brought up in foster care, and I’ve used drugs and I felt like every day was a challenge.

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“I found it very difficult to trust people, but I trusted Claire. She has been there through the good and the bad and she has been absolutely amazing. She goes out her way to help me, and she makes me smile.”

Claire and KieranClaire and Kieran
Claire and Kieran

Claire has been supporting Kieran as he has mild learning disability, helping him manage his physical and mental health, as well as substance misuse, including linking in with other professionals he needed for help.

On one routine home visit to see Kieran, Claire recognised he was extremely unwell. Kieran has diabetes and when she arrived he was in and out of consciousness, with his eyes rolling to the back of his head.

Kieran would often object to staff checking his blood sugars, but she insisted they tested these and call an ambulance. It’s highly likely without attending hospital he would have gone into a diabetic coma.

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Claire stayed with Kieran and travelled with him in the ambulance to offer care, compassion and reassurance.

Due to Kieran finding it hard to trust people, he had refused ambulance support from his carers, but through Claire's open and honest approach she got him to agree that further support was required. On arrival at the hospital he was taken straight to the resus department and it is a genuine belief that had Claire not visited on this day and assessed the situation, he would have likely died. Claire remained with him until a family member was able to arrive and take over.

Kieran said: “I am so grateful to Claire, she shows that she really cares about her job, and she’s not just doing it for the money, that’s what made me warm to her and trust her.

“I think without Claire I would still be on drugs and probably not here anymore.

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“I used to be an outgoing, funny guy and drugs took that away from me but now I’ve got that back and I’m really looking forward to the future. I’m feeling really lucky and really appreciative. And for the first time I feel like I really deserve to be happy. Claire has made such a huge difference to my life”

Claire said:

“There was a lot of determination from myself and his family to get Kieran the support he needed. Over the past couple of months he has come on leaps and bounds and is fully thinking about his future. I am just so proud of him. It really makes my job worthwhile to see his progress.”

Diane Hull, Executive Director of Nursing, AHPs and Quality said:

“On International Nurses’ Day it is fantastic to hear about the outstanding care being provided by one of our learning disability specialist nurses, Claire. Learning disability nurses work to provide specialist healthcare and support to people with a learning disability, as well as their families and staff teams, to help them live a fulfilling life.

"Claire has gone above and beyond to help Kieran on his way to a brighter future and they should both feel very proud.”