Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Hijinx are launching a new series of training videos online to help train health and social care staff to effectively communicate with, appropriately care for, and support people with learning disabilities and/or autism. The videos will be shared at a virtual screening and webinar on 27 January 2021 before being available online for anyone to access.

With funding from the Cardiff & Vale Health Charity and Arts & Business Cymru, the Health Board was able to commission Hijinx to develop a series of short films filmed on location at the University Hospital of Wales.

Hijinx is one of Europe’s leading inclusive theatre companies, striving for equality by making outstanding art with learning disabled and/or autistic actors on stage, on screen, on the street, in the workplace, locally, nationally and internationally for Wales and for the world.

The training films cover several topics which were highlighted as particular areas of concern within the Health Board such as communication, treating constipation and taking observations. A few years an independent study conducted by the Improving Health and Lives Learning Disabilities Observatory found that approximately 1200 people with learning disabilities die avoidable deaths while in NHS care every year.

This training will not only go a long way to address the stark inequality in the care and treatment people with learning disabilities have historically received but could potentially save some patients’ lives.

The training films which include four Hijinx actors are informative and also very engaging with Hijinx’s brand of humour and heart at the core. They will be available to watch from staff across the NHS, as well as those who want to develop their disability training as well for free online.

Filming in hospital with an actor from Hijinx.

Andy Jones, Lead Nurse for Surgery, Urology, Ophthalmology, ENT , Dental & Wound Healing at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said, “I am really excited that these training films will be released and used to promote improvements in practice in the field of caring for patients with a learning disability.

“It is well acknowledged that there are inequalities in health care provision to this vulnerable group of our population.

“These films have been shaped by the NHS England LeDer report findings and embellished by actors from the Hijinx Theatre Company who themselves have a learning disability and have themselves encountered difficulties obtaining the care and support they are entitled to.

“The aim of the project was to have films that challenged and provoked audiences to discuss the common problems, barriers and challenges people with a learning disability face. I hope that these films will therefore facilitate learning discussions, so that reasonable adjustments in practice can be made, overcoming diagnostic overshadowing and to keep people safe.”

Sarah Horner, Chief Executive of Hijinx Theatre said, “It’s great to see these films being shared to support training in such a critical area. We’re proud to have worked with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board in developing these resources and enabling the lived experiences of Hijinx actors to be so central to their creation. We hope they can have a real impact on the quality of care received by patients with a learning disability.”

On 27 January 2021 the videos will be launched at a virtual screening with attendees from the NHS, government, health and business sector. The event will be followed by a short webinar discussion. A limited number of tickets are available for the virtual screening of the films via Eventbrite. The videos will be all available from the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board from 28 January 2021.

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