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Healthcare professionals need additional awareness so there is not another case like Oliver's

My name is Lauren Johnston & I’m a student Learning Disability Nurse. I’m currently on my final placement at The Royal Liverpool Hospital with the Learning Disability, Dementia & Safeguarding team. On Wednesday 14th November 2018, I was privileged enough to meet Paula McGowan, mother of Oliver McGowan, 18, who sadly passed away in 2016 after being prescribed anti-psychotic medications, which Oliver clearly stated he was allergic to.

Our morning started by meeting with Aidan Kehoe, Chief Executive of The Royal Liverpool & Broad Green Hospitals. The Learning Disability Liaison Team based at RLBUH have developed and delivered Learning Disability & Autism Awareness training to over half of employers within the trust, who are now known to be ‘Learning Disability Champions’. As a result of Oliver’s death, Paula is wanting to make awareness training mandatory, in order for all professionals to have an understanding of individuals with Learning Disabilities and/or Autism.

Paula then delivered ‘Oliver’s Story’, a very emotional but yet powerful speech. Paula spoke about the care that Oliver received and the lack of communication between healthcare professionals, but also to Oliver. Paula discussed the term ‘reasonable adjustments’ and the importance of this when delivering holistic and person-centered care. To make reasonable adjustments, means to support an individuals needs, including first priority and longer appointments, and easy read documents.

There were a number of different healthcare professionals, families & carers, & individuals from People First, a self-advocate led organisation for people with learning disabilities, at Paula’s talk. It was an emotional experience to listen to Oliver’s story, at times very difficult. However, Oliver’s story identified the necessity for awareness training of Learning Disabilities &/or Autism that all healthcare professionals require to allow person-centred care to be delivered to patients in our care.

I would like to thank Paula for sharing Oliver’s story, explaining her families experiences during Oliver’s care and now after Oliver’s death.

It was a very informative day, & an area that I feel, as healthcare professionals we need additional awareness training on to ensure a situation like Oliver’s does not conclude sadly, in the same way.



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