Hackney learning disability service


The Hackney Learning Disabilities Service is an integrated team of psychiatrists, care managers, occupational therapists, psychologists, physiotherapists, behaviour therapists, counsellors, speech and language therapists, nurses (including a consultant nurse), and community resource workers.

The team provides a service to adults with learning disabilities who are residents of the London Borough of Hackney and the City of London, and have a GP in the area. There is an assertive outreach team working with clients with mental health problems.

We also provide a crucial liaison role in supporting clinical and care management staff to facilitate discharge to appropriate community placements; training for clients and health staff.

Our focus is on maximising people’s independence and delivering the targets of the Valuing People White Paper.

How we can help people with learning disabilities
The team provides the following areas of service for people who have learning disabilities: one point of entry to services, specialist assessment, intervention and support; mobility support and advice about aids and adaptations; support in learning new skills; support to communicate better with others; psychology, psychiatric and behavioural interventions.

The Hackney Learning Disability Service is made up of the following:

Care management
We work with clients living in the community, in residential care or supported living to enhance independence skills and facilitate community access to leisure, education and employment activities. An important part of the work is to support family members who are carers.

We give a safe space where the client can talk about their problems. It can help people make their own decisions about their own life.

Occupational Therapy 
We look at their practical skills, like personal care or travel skills. If something is difficult for the client to do we can talk about ways to make it easier.

We can help the client to move, sit and rest comfortably.

Community Nursing 
We can help the client get the health care and treatment they need. We can also help them have a healthier lifestyle.

We help the client to think about their feelings. We can help them to change their behaviour if they, or other people, are worried about it. We will assess their IQ if someone needs to know this.

We undertake assessment and management of clients with learning disability and a comorbid mental illness and or challenging behaviours. There is a consultant psychiatrist supported by a core trainee and higher speciality trainee.

Speech and language therapy 
We help the client with their communication, hearing, eating and drinking.

Behaviour therapy
We help the client when they feel angry or when carers find it hard to understand why they are angry or unhappy.

Assertive outreach team
We work with clients with a dual diagnosis of learning disability and severe and enduring mental illness. They may have offending behaviour and may pose risks to themselves or others.

This includes mentally disordered offenders who are likely to come into contact with the criminal justice system and present a risk to themselves and others. We work to prevent hospital admission or shorter hospital admissions by delivering care and treatment which will help the client to be safe and as independent as possible in the community.

The referral process:
Referrals are accepted from GPs, statutory and voluntary organisations, family and carers or by self referral. Referrals should be made on the Referral form

First we need to find out if the client has a learning disability. We do this using different assessments with psychology and occupational therapy. Consent from the individual being referred is required in order to process the referral. If appropriate we can apply best interests under the Mental Capacity Act or as part of the adult safeguarding process.

If the client is assessed as not having a learning disability the referrer will be informed and directions to other services will be made.

If the client has a learning disability they will have an integrated assessment carried out by a social worker and a member of the health team in order to determine how to address health and lifestyle concerns. If the individual is assessed as not meeting criteria for social care input (determined under Fair Access to Care Services criteria), he or she may still be eligible for support from the specialist health team.