George Eliot Hospital staff delivered a successful breast screening awareness workshop for women with learning disabilities last week.
Specialist radiographers and breast care nurses from George Eliot Hospital and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire provided a useful education session for ladies before providing a practical tour around the breast care unit.
Increasing the uptake of cancer screening is a local priority and the community learning disability team have a “Lumps & Bumps” campaign to increase the uptake of cancer screening for people with learning disabilities. Local take up of breast screening is low and the team are working closely with breast care nurses across Coventry and Warwickshire to help increase the uptake of mammograms.
The specialist team showed the ladies exactly what would happen on the day of their appointment and took them into the mammogram area. They were able to see exactly how the equipment worked thanks to the help of a willing volunteer. Radiographers allowed the ladies to put their fists underneath the machines in order for them to see how the machines worked during the mammogram screening to help remove some of their fears. The ladies were also provided with a pack of accessible information about breast screening.
In Warwickshire,126 ladies with learning disabilities were eligible for screening in 2014 but only 19 ladies were successfully screened. Reasons for this included being nervous about attending the appointment and not understanding the content of their invite letter. Breast care teams are now developing letters that are easier to understand and working with partners to help increase uptake locally.
George Eliot Hospital is also piloting a “Mammogram Passport” which enables the Learning Disability teams to meet with patients prior to their mammogram to help prepare them for future screenings. They are also documenting important information about the individual and advise the breast care unit of any reasonable adjustments that are required to make a successful screening appointment.
Specialist Learning Disability Nurse, Claire Geary said:
“Everyone involved benefitted from this workshop including the ladies themselves, their carers and our own professionals.”
“The ladies found the sessions a useful and positive experience and came away more prepared for screening in the future.”
Joanne Bailey, Breast Screening and Health Promotion Nurse at UHCW NHS Trust said: “We are hoping to do the session again to promote breast screening and improve the uptake. I am also working on an easy access invitation letter, and a learning disability care pathway to ensure they are well looked after throughout the whole process of breast screening. Our aim is to ensure patients with learning disabilities are able to make an informed and educated decision about attending their breast screening appointment.”
For further information please contact Claire Geary at George Eliot Hospital on 024 7631 5867 or Joanne Bailey at University Hospital in Coventry on 02476 966922.
For more information about breast screening in Warwickshire, Solihull and Coventry please go to www.bscreen.org.uk/coventry or call the main office on 02476 967200.