As a carer, you'll know that a person's health can deteriorate quickly, and failing to act promptly can have serious consequences. People with learning disabilities are particularly vulnerable because they often rely on others to spot the signs that they are unwell.
Signs of potential deteriorating health
Change in consciousness or awareness including subtle changes such as increased anxiety, confusion or restlessness
Change in heart and circulation changes in heart/pulse rate, dizziness, feeling faint, chest pain, sweating
High (above 37.5°C) or low (35°C or below) body temperature, chills or shivering
Change in breathing – breaths sound different to usual, using effort to breathe, nostrils flaring when breathing, cough
Change in skin colour – mottling of the skin, rash, pallor, bluish tinge to lips
Change in bowels – diarrhoea or vomiting, distended abdomen
Change in urine output, change in quantity, colour or smell of urine
How to reduce risk
Make yourself aware of the needs of those in your care.
Listen to the concerns of others who know the person well, and act on these.
Use your intuition – if you think the person’s health is deteriorating it probably is, so act on your ‘gut instincts’
Use assessments such as recording body temperature, but don’t rely on these measures alone Look at the whole person - don’t just focus on one part of the body or symptom
Communicate concerns effectively so you share the important information and get the response you need
For additional help and advice 7 days a week, from 8 am to 8 pm please contact Clinical Governance on 0117 911 9677.
Somerset County Council