A former patient of our South Cumbria Learning Disability Service is celebrating losing six stone in weight after the help of a nurse who helped transform his life.

Lewis Kelly, aged 27 from Dalton-in-Furness, has Down Syndrome and managed to reverse his type II diabetes with the help of Jo Nevinson, a learning disability nurse at the Trust.

Lewis was referred to the service as he became depressed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said:

I was struggling in Covid, getting depressed. I started pulling my hair and picking my skin. I was very quiet, feeling worried and all out-of-sorts. I used to love acting and didn’t do any of the things I liked.”

Following his referral into the service, Lewis began to feel better in himself.

He continued: 

“Jo was really supportive. She gave me exercises and things to read. We did assessments. Then she gave me things to do and make, started hobbies and suggested walks. We kept in touch once a week until I got better.”

Jo added:

This is just one of the ways in which we help people with a learning disability in addition to lifestyle advice, education, and getting them into work to help those affected become more confident contributing members of society and their communities. They have a lot of brilliant qualities and transferable skills and are an asset to many charities and organisations acting as volunteers or employees.

It’s been a pleasure to see service users at the start of their journey and reach their goals like Lewis did with his weight loss.”

Lewis could not have done it without Jo’s support, stating:

“Jo gave me the confidence to join slimming world which was a great help in his battle to lose weight, I feel confident now. I can go in the hot tub, I like having barbeques, going out, socialising and photography. I go to shows and to see bands.

Jo makes me feel happy, you’re really supportive and I feel proud for you.”

Jo Nevison.jpg

Lewis’ message to Jo comes during Learning Disability Awareness Week which falls on 17 to 23 June 2024. We are using the week as an opportunity to remind people of the support which is available.

Their service is suitable for all ages as some people with learning disabilities require support for the whole of their lives. Professionals from a range of backgrounds, including psychologists, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, nurses and healthcare support workers, work together to support service users across Lancashire and South Cumbria.

They focus on physical health, mental health, challenging behaviour and offending behaviour, encouraging those with a learning disability to have an annual health check and develop a health action plan.

As well as assessment and developing care and treatment plans, the Trust provides hands on support working with the individual, including with partners in the independent or voluntary sector.