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A group of students and staff gather together on a medical bed. One holds a directors clapperboard.

News story

Students make video guides to encourage patients with learning disabilities to attend health checks

May 14, 2024

Students at Edge Hill University have created new video guides to encourage more patients with learning disabilities to take up health screening.

Sara Preston and Megan Fisher-Loughlin, student learning disabilities nurses, teamed up with film student Georgia Wood to create a series of videos about how routine but intimate procedures like smear tests, breast exams and prostate checks might go.

Patients registered with a GP in South Sefton or Southport and Formby can now access these videos through their practice.

Sara, now a nurse practitioner in the Greater Manchester Specialist Support Team, acted in the films and drew on her personal experience of being mum to her son Reid who has autism.

“Patients with learning disabilities can find trips to the doctor really intimidating. We all get nervous about intimate procedures, especially when it’s the first time, but they can be even harder when you don’t understand what will happen or why you have to have them.

“Evidence has shown that people with learning disabilities are less likely to take up smear tests, for example, so if these videos help even a couple of people get checked out they’ll have been worth making.”

Sara Preston

The short videos provide a run-through of the whole process, including arriving at the surgery, conversations and questions with the nurse or doctor, and the physical procedure itself, for example how to sit or lie, any equipment which might be used and who is likely to be there.

Georgia, artistic director and cinematographer on the project, added:

“I really focused on the audience to make sure the films were informative and accessible. This was a great opportunity to create healthcare-related films and I understood the importance of meeting the brief well, of making sure patients get what they need out of them.

“It was also a very liberating project to work on because part of my film-making ethos is that I want to help people, I want to show real experiences of real people. So I really hope those who see these videos will feel supported, I hope they’ll realise that the NHS is there to support them, that they’re not alone.”

Georgia Wood

The initiative was led by Maggi Bradley, honorary lecturer at Edge Hill University and clinical nurse lead at the Sefton Training Hub, in partnership with the training hub which is run by GP-owned Southport and Formby Health to provide NHS services.

“This has been a fantastic collaboration, resulting in an exceptional piece of work which will provide previously unmet benefits to patients with specific needs.

“We hope people with learning disabilities will, at the very least, feel less nervous when an intimate procedure is called for.”

Maggi Bradley

Three videos covering vaginal, rectal examination and breast examination are now available to use across all GP surgeries in Sefton.

Filming took place at Edge Hill’s multi-million-pound Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre which houses wards, an operating theatre, and an anatomy and ultrasound resource centre.

Edge Hill University’s Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine is one of the largest providers of healthcare education in the North West of England.

The School of Nursing and Midwifery offers training across a range of disciplines including adult, children’s, mental health and learning disabilities nursing at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

The Department of English and Creative Arts provides education across the arts including creative writing, film, broadcast production, performing arts, animation, graphic design and music production.

May 14, 2024


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