Digital technology for people with learning disabilities to support happier, healthier lives

Digital technology for people with learning disabilities to support happier, healthier lives

The Learning Disability Mortality Review (LeDeR) programme and longstanding reports provide evidence that the signs of health deterioration are not always detected promptly by support workers and, furthermore, that concerns expressed by support workers to health professionals are not always taken seriously or responded to in ways that maximise the potential for good health outcomes. As such, people with a Learning Disability die prematurely with conditions that could have been prevented or amenable to treatment, with commonly occurring causes of death including pneumonia, aspiration pneumonia, sepsis, ischaemic heart disease and epilepsy. There are also a concerning number of deaths due to constipation.

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The East and West Midlands Academic Health Science Networks are testing an approach to managing health deterioration amongst people with a learning disability who live in their own homes – generally referred to as supported living settings. The aim is to develop a strong evidence-based approach that can be scaled up and rolled out nationally. 

The work will be framed within the PIER model of deterioration management, to ensure that consideration is given to where an intervention could be most impactful - Prevention, Identification, Escalation or Response (or a combination of these).

One question this work seeks to answer is whether there is a role for digital and assistive technology?

We have worked with stakeholders to define the following set of challenge statements – specific areas against which we are seeking examples of innovative products and solutions.


Key challenges

We are seeking solutions that will address the following challenges: 

  • Provide support to individuals with learning disabilities living within their own homes to live healthier, happier lives
  • Can be used by individuals with learning disabilities and/or family members, carers and personal assistants
  • Have the potential to detect, monitor and escalate deteriorating health and wellbeing
  • Share health and wellbeing information with health and care professionals 


Key considerations

Please note this list serves as a guide and is by no means definitive or exhaustive.  


  • Capturing individual baseline health and wellness information and associated measures
  • Capturing individual objective information, for example temperature, blood pressure, weight
  • Individual, reportable health trend analysis (reportable)
  • Ability to transmit the data to identified health and care professionals 
  • Technical support


  • Interoperability with existing clinical systems e.g. SystmOne, EMIS etc.
  • Communication platform i.e. video conferencing, chat, text, 
  • Training platform – for example, to provide support videos

An Innovation Exchange event will be held on the 14th of July 2021 at 12pm - 1.30pm at which delegates will hear from people with learning disabilities, their families and support workers about their experience of becoming unwell – and what that was like for them.  

The event will provide examples of innovative approaches already in place and provide insights into digital technologies with the potential to support people to live the happier, healthier lives that the LeDeR report commits to delivering.

Following the event, East Midlands AHSN will offer funding to support the real world evaluation of digital innovations.  We will provide the opportunity for commissioners and/or providers of care to work with digital suppliers to test their products and services, providing the evidence of impact that will support spread and adoption to other care settings.

If you believe your innovation has the potential to assist us in addressing the challenges described, please apply by 5pm on 30th June 2021 and hold the 14th July 2021 in your diary.  We aim to confirm inclusion in the event by 30th June.

How do I apply?

To apply to be part of the event on 14th July 2021, please submit your innovation on the Meridian Innovation Exchange.   


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