Kettering General Hospital worker with learning disability is invaluable to patients and staff

Learning Disability Project Worker Chris Abram with the images used to help LD patients to express themselves when they are completing a patient satisfaction questionnaire
Learning Disability Project Worker Chris Abram with the images used to help LD patients to express themselves when they are completing a patient satisfaction questionnaire

A project worker who has learning disabilities has spoken about his time helping Kettering General Hospital staff to better understand the needs of people with the disability.

Chris Abram, of Wellingborough, has worked for the hospital since 2010, helping to enhance care for those with learning disabilities.

The hospital was one of the first in the country to employ someone with the disability to be a medium between clinical staff and patients, helping make their stay in hospital less stressful.

The 32-year-old’s most recent venture has been to devise a system to make it easier for those with learning difficulties to give feedback via a series of questions on their time at the Rothwell Road hospital.

He said: “For each of the questions we have lots of pictures on a board to show what I mean. I also have three symbols for yes, no, and not sure, so learning disability patients can point to them to make replying easy.

“It helps us to see if any of the patients are having any problems.”

Chris, who was born in the hospital and who now works there two mornings a week, added: “I think Kettering General is now getting very good at caring for people with learning disabilites.”

Marianne Duffy, who works with hospital staff to improve training and care for people with learning disabilities, praised the work Chris does.

She said: “He uses his own experiences to tell staff what they need to be doing for patients.

“It’s also the fact he’s been so accepted by staff who before would have been quite worried about working with someone with a learning disability. It’s almost taking that stigma away.”

Earlier this year Chris started working in the A&E department, and matron Liz Meeks, who was off work for his first few months there, added: “As soon as I came back, one of the first things I heard was ‘Is Chris in today?’.

“A lot of staff – not just nurses but doctors as well – are becoming quite reliant on the service Chris provides.

“Knowing Chris is around means nurses know their patients are being looked after.”