Looking after your health

As you get older and become more independent, it is important to think about your health.  

This may be something that your parents have always done for you, and they will have a record of your health needs and the professionals that have overseen your health care.  

To prepare for your independence sometimes known as preparing for adulthood (PFA), you could ask them to help you write a list of the name of and contact details for your:   

  • GP (doctor) 

  • Dentist 

  • Optician 

  • Community paediatrician 

  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (worker)  

There may be other health professionals that you need to keep in touch with, so ask for their details to be recorded too.  

Visiting your doctor  

You may decide that you still want your parents to come with you to the doctor (GP).  This can be helpful as it is a good idea to have two people listening to the advice that the doctor is giving.  

If you are going on your own for the first time, familiarise yourself with the travel route and layout of the doctor’s surgery before your appointment. This can help with any stress or anxiety you may feel on the day. Think about what you want to talk to the doctor about or any questions you may want to ask the doctor. It is a good idea to make a note to remind you when you are there. If you think you will need more time to talk to your doctor without feeling rushed, you can ask for a double appointment. 

Be honest with your doctor, talk to them about the difficulties you may have in processing the information they are giving you. Ask them to explain it in simple terms or write it down for you.  

It’s a good idea to make a note of any follow-up appointments or tests they would like to do on your phone or take a diary with you. That way, you can check to see if you are able to attend the appointment they are offering you.   

If you have a learning disability then you are entitled to an annual health check

Some GP surgeries do not offer a health check. If yours hasn’t offered you a health check, you can ask them if they could provide one. If they say no, you can ask your local community learning disability team for advice. They should be able to help you to get an annual health check.  

If you move to a different area please remember to register with a new practice.  

Going to hospital  

You may have a medical condition or need medical tests that mean you must go to the hospital for an appointment. This is called being an out-patient.  

You can also take someone with you to an out-patient appointment to help and reassure you. If your reason for the appointment is private, they can wait in the waiting room until you come back. 

You may find that at some point you may need to stay in hospital. This is called being an in-patient. You can usually take someone with you to settle you in, but they won’t be able to stay with you outside of visiting hours. Sometimes this can make you feel anxious or worried, if that is the case, it would help to speak to one of your family or friends about this. Think about what is worrying you and ask them to help you find ways to cope.  

If you would like to find out more about the appointment or stay in hospital, check the website for that hospital. They will have had others who are anxious and can give you information and advice to help you feel more comfortable. 

Hospitals in our area are provided by either University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust or North Bristol NHS Trust Hospitals.  

If you have been receiving treatment at the Children’s hospital, between 16 and 18, your care will transfer to an adult hospital to continue the treatment. This is called transition. University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust has information about transition and what that means for you if you have certain conditions.  

Staying healthy  

One You South Gloucestershire is a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing service for adults to help make important, lasting improvements to their health. 

The service is for all adults over the age of 18 who are either a South Gloucestershire resident or registered with a GP practice in South Gloucestershire. 

Our services can help you: 

If you have a learning disability you are more likely to have problems with your weight. You may be underweight because your disability means you have difficulties with eating or swallowing, for example. You may be overweight because your condition increases your risk of obesity. The NHS website has information about  helping you to manage your weight with a learning disability.

If you are a wheelchair user, getting active will bring you important health benefits and can help you manage daily life, too. You can read an article about exercising on the NHS website.

Choices 4 U is a day service, based in South Gloucestershire, for people with learning difficulties. They can work with you if you are 16 or over and support you to live a healthy life, try new activities, learn a range of life skills, and help you to work towards being independent. 

Health information for young people with special educational needs and disability  

The council have developed a guide to understand health pathways and health information if you are between 14- 25 and have a special educational need and or a disability. You or your family can download and print the health booklet. This booklet will be a useful guide to use when you and those who support you have to plan for preparing for adulthood reviews.   

You can read more about the health services that are available on our health service page   

Further information  

We have some easy read articles to help you look after your health  

The NHS has information about keeping yourself healthy  

Seeability has information resources for adults and children with learning disabilities, all about looking after your eyes.   

Books beyond words have books for people who understand pictures better than words. They have books about Going to the DoctorGoing to the DentistGoing into Hospital and Going to Outpatients  

One You South Gloucestershire Is for everyone over 18 living in South Gloucestershire or registered with a GP in south Gloucestershire. It is a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing service.