What are Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD)?
We recognise that for families and social care support teams, supporting people with profound and multiple learning disabilities to experience a good quality of life requires continual skilled support. Achieve together are recognised leaders in this field, with skilled and experienced support teams and practice leaders. In 2021 our Nurse Led Team won the ‘Nursing in Social Care’ Nursing Times Award for our support of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities. In 2023 we are finalists in the Complex Care Provider of the Year the Health Investor Awards.
People who have profound learning disabilities and significant physical disabilities will have more than one disability. The most significant of these is a profound learning disability.
Frequently additional needs will include physical disabilities, complex health issues including epilepsy, respiratory problems, dysphagia, sensory impairments and sensory processing differences. Eating and drinking difficulties could mean the person is enterally fed. Achieve together’s dedicated teams are able to support with such complex support needs, including non-invasive ventilation and airway suctioning as required to ensure people live a safe and meaningful life.
Families and relationships
The collaboration we enjoy with families helps us to provide excellent support including key decisions via a Best Interest process. Our person-centred framework ensures we focus on each aspect of a person’s life, including relationships.
We have developed support structures, unique in the learning disability sector, to enable people with profound and multiple learning disabilities to live in their local community. More than 300 people with profound and multiple learning disabilities live in our registered supported living or care homes. With adapted living environments including overhead hoisting, specialist bath/shower rooms and sensory rooms people live an ordinary life, with the best possible quality of life. Support is focused on the National Core & Essential PMLD Service Standards which we helped to develop, and ensure our teams work within these standards for continuity of support.
Our holistic model of support focuses on proactively meeting the complex communication, health and postural care needs of each person, while also meeting their social, emotional and relationship needs. Our specialised Health & Wellbeing Team work directly with operational management and support teams to achieve this.
Features within our support
In addition, we incorporate the following features into our support:
- Enhanced GP service in specific locations – allowing the GP to gain a greater knowledge of each person’s needs. Swift medical support and advice
- 24-hour postural care plans. We fully understand the need for proactive postural care plans which reflect a person’s postural needs day and night. We work closely with our Physiotherapy Consultant and local Physiotherapy
- A Nurse-led Health Promotion Team – working with support teams to provide excellent clinical training and competency assessments
- Strong links with local Health and Therapy Teams – strong links with speech and language therapy, specialist nurses, dieticians, occupational therapists and physiotherapists to assist with therapy programmes
- High and Lo technology aids – we link in with Assistive Technology suppliers to individually tailor technology opportunities for people. These help them to communicate, assist health monitoring and give people greater control over their environment including switch technology
- Sensory Interaction – we are proactive and have a strong focus on engaging and communicating with each person. This includes appreciating the unique and personal communication and sensory preference of everyone. The support team are focused, through our person centred framework on the use of sensory stories, and models of support such as the Hanging Out Programme HOP 141108.pub (sheridanforster.com.au)
Unusually, people with profound and multiple learning disabilities who we support are active members of a self-advocacy group (Campaign 4 Change). Promoting and supporting the inclusion of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities means those people are visible and involved. They have presented, and been involved in, the two national Learning Disability England Conferences highlighting the need for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities to be involved more widely.
Find out more about our one of our specialist PMLD services in the video below: