Published on: 5th January 2022

Carol Lonergan Jeremy and Lindsay Bowker.jpgTwo of our learning disability nurses have gone the extra mile to help protect a Rochdale man with Down’s syndrome from flu and covid.

Carol Lonergan, hospital and community liaison nurse (pictured left) and Lindsay Bowker , senior practitioner and care co-ordinator (pictured right), both work for our learning disability team in the Rochdale borough.

They have supported 57-year-old Kingsway resident Jeremy (pictured center) for several months.  Through their compassion, patience and willingness to listen and adapt to Jeremy’s needs, he recently overcame his fears and attended his GP practice for his first ever flu vaccine.

During his appointment, Jeremy also willingly agreed to have his covid booster and his first annual health check in many years, which includes checking blood pressure, bloods, and weight.  

This is a huge achievement for Jeremy, who previously wanted little involvement with services, declined all medical support and rarely left home.

Early attempts to encourage Jeremy to seek vital health care resulted in him becoming very anxious and upset. So Carol and Lindsay agreed a careful approach was needed.

They spent lots of time with Jeremy to better understand his needs, fears and worries. They developed a plan which included simple, but effective changes to help him feel more relaxed, such as vaccinating him at home, preparing the vaccine out of sight, arranging for him to wear a short-sleeved shirt, bringing him a magazine, and chatting about his favourite TV shows.

Their support meant that Jeremy not only willingly agreed to have his first and second covid vaccine, he felt ready to venture out to his GP practice for his booster, flu vaccine and health check.

Carol said “We’re absolutely delighted at the progress Jeremy has made since last year. He’s more trusting of health professionals, so identifying and meeting his health needs will be much easier in future. He’s like a different person; he’s enjoying life and so much healthier and happier.

Lindsay added: “It shows that with a bit of ingenuity and support, people with learning disabilities can access the help and support they need to stay fit and healthy. A big thumbs up to Jeremy.”

Jeremy’s story is just one example of how our learning disability teams are supporting people. Click here to find out more.