Hospital inclusion

New video resources support people with intellectual disability to navigate hospital visits

“I hope these videos will make things better for people like me, so when they’re sick they get better care at hospital.”

In a series of new video resources, Callee Petropoulos plays Cassie, a young woman with intellectual disability navigating her way through a hospital visit alongside her family, support workers and hospital staff.

Callee’s performance provides a window into the lived experience of people with intellectual disability in the hospital system.

Lead researcher Professor Teresa Iacono says the videos aim to address a persistent health inequality issue.

“We find that hospital staff, disability support staff and families often don’t know how to work together to share vital health information or meet the care and support needs of people with intellectual disability.”

“Yet patients are reliant on all three groups of people to work collaboratively because many are unable to self-advocate for their needs and often have difficulties communicating health issues.”

Tailored to each stakeholder group, the resources are based on research and real-life experiences, providing clear, accessible and authentic examples of good practice; from waiting in emergency to ward stays and discharge.

Teresa said previous attempts to address the problem through guidelines did not go far enough.

“We now have a framework available to all hospitals, families and the disability sector about how to effectively support people with disabilities through their hospital journeys.”

“Rather than show worst-case scenarios, this is the opposite, it’s about best practice.”

La Trobe Rural Health School and La Trobe’s Living with Disability Research Centre partnered with Bendigo Health, Eastern Health, Golden City Support Services and Yooralla to develop the resources: