A man with Down's Syndrome, who has improved the treatment of disabled people by training medics, has been nominated for a prestigious national award.
John Keaveny, 48, who works for Certitude, which supports people with learning disabilities and mental health needs, has been shortlisted in the Trainer category of the National Learning Disability Awards. Most of the people nominated for the award do not have a disability.
He works as a training consultant for Certitude’s Treat Me Right project, teaching doctors, surgeons and nurses how to treat people with learning disabilities. He decided to join the team after a traumatic personal experience.
A few years ago John, from Ealing, collapsed at home and was rushed into hospital with breathing difficulties. He remained there for four weeks and found the experience difficult and confusing so he now uses his experience to improve the situation for other people with learning disabilities when they go into hospital.
As part of the Treat Me Right! team, John works with Elsa Morris to deliver up to four Learning Disability Awareness courses at Ealing hospital and Ealing Community Health Services each month.
He recently trained over 100 student nurses at West London University and he is also being invited to talk to local businesses.
John said: “The stuff that Treat Me Right! does really works and makes a difference. I have met lots of people with learning disabilities and carers who tell me good stories about how they have seen changes in the way they were treated in Ealing Hospital, or by their local GP. They say they want other hospitals and health services to make similar improvements and I agree.”
Elsa Morris said: “John has shown that with a determined and can-do approach it is possible to make real positive changes which benefit people with learning disabilities when they go into hospital. He has huge amounts of energy and is also chairman of Ealing Partnership Board’s Health Sub Group, meeting regularly to plan improvements to health services.”
Certitude, which covers Ealing and several other London boroughs, said John’s work had 'led to the introduction of a number of significant changes at the hospital and in local health services.' This has included Ealing Hospital adopting Health Passports to improve communication for people with learning disabilities.
The winner of the Best Trainer, National Learning Disability Awards, will be announced at a gala dinner at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham on Friday evening. John will be attending with his colleagues from Certitude.