top of page
Disability support worker comforting a person with intellectual disability as they wait in Emergency

People with ​Intellectual Disabilities

Ward Stays

These videos show Jeff and Cassandra after they have moved to a ward. Jeff is with  Amelia, his support worker. Cassandra is with both Frank, her father, and Johnno, her support worker. In the last video, only Johnno is with Cassandra.

Applying the Framework

Diagram showing the four framework processes, with the Knowing segment highlighted.

Knowing that

  • Hospital staff sometimes are too busy to help you to eat or drink.​

  • Hospital staff may not know if you have a Hospital Passport with you or might not have had time to look at it. 

  • Hospital staff may not know how to best take care of some of your needs.

  • Some hospitals have Disability Liaison Officers who you can talk to about what you need - they may be able to get extra help for you.

Diagram showing the four framework processes, with the Informing segment highlighted.



The person with you will need to tell hospital ward staff

  • their relationship with you - such as family, friend or disability support worker

  • if they can be at the hospital to help you to eat, drink or get comfortable in bed

  • what you need help with and how to help you

  • if you have illnesses that hospital staff may not know about, such as epilepsy, trouble swallowing

  • what to do so you don't get sicker, such what to do so that you don't have a seizure

  • how to understand you if you don't use speech.

  • how to help you understand what a nurse, doctor or therapist wants you to do or what is going to happen

Diagram showing the four framework processes, with the Collaborating segment highlighted.

Collaborating happens when the person with you 


  • tells hospital staff about the help you need and if you have health problems

  • calmly asks for someone to help you and ask again when there is a new nurse on the ward

  • works with hospital staff and anyone else who visits you often to think of ways to care for you

  • doesn't get upset if hospital staff can't do what they suggest 

  • offers to help take care of you if they can

Diagram showing the four framework processes, with the Supporting segment highlighted.



You will be supported when

  • a family member, friend or disability support worker who visits you in hospital keeps asking hospital staff for the things and help you need 

  • hospital staff do what they can to make sure you can eat, drink and get comfortable in bed, and that nothing happens to make you sicker 

  • you eat, drink and are comfortable while in hospital


People who support you when you go to hospital need to know about being on a ward in hospital.

As someone with intellectual disability, you may have one or more problems with your health. It is important that hospital staff are told about any problems with your health. You also might need help with eating, drinking or getting comfortable when you are in a hospital bed. Hospital staff need someone who knows you well to tell them about your needs and how to help you. Your family or friends can talk to them about ways to make sure you get the help you need. Some hospitals have someone called a Disability Liaison Officer. This person may can help get you the support you need. 


You can find more information in the Resources tab about intellectual disability frequent health concerns and   hospital Disability Liaison Officers.



These activities will help you to think about what you have learned. You can do them or your own as an Individual or with friends as a Group. You can write answers in the workbook that you can download onto your computer. 

Watch this video again of Johnno, Cassandra's disability support worker, taking to one of the nurses on the ward. 

Write down your answers to these questions in your workbook or ask someone to write them for you:

  1. What do you think Johnno needed to know about the work that nurses do?

  2. What would you tell the nurse about how Cassandra uses signs or gestures to communicate?

  3. How did Johnno advocate for Cassandra?

  4. How do you think Cassandra felt?

bottom of page