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Trinity College Dublin launches free online course to overcome inequalities in health care to coincide with International Day of Disabilities

Trinity’s course ‘Improving Health Assessments for People with an Intellectual Disability’ explores how professionals can adapt to overcome the inequalities in health care for those with intellectual disabilities as this group now lives well into old age for the first time in history

The Trinity Centre for Ageing and Intellectual Disability at Trinity College Dublin is launching a new Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) geared to healthcare professionals, care providers and others who work with people with an intellectual disability.  The course,  partially-funded by the European Institute of Technology through their Health Knowledge and Innovation Community (EIT Health), which was established in 2008 to promote innovation and entrepreneurship across Europe, is open for enrolment now and available on the FutureLearn social learning platform.

For the first time in history, people with an intellectual disability are living well into old age. This success story is a result of improved health care, better living conditions, access to education, and community support. Despite this success, the life expectancy of a person with an intellectual disability is nearly 20 years less than their non-disabled peers. For decades, health and health care inequalities among people with an intellectual disability have been an issue, due to inaccessible healthcare information and service provision. These challenges can increase exclusion from preventative screenings, delay regular health assessments, impact on quality of life, and further marginalise people with an intellectual disability.

Trinity’s free three-week online course, starting on 15th January 2018, will explore how to improve health assessments for people with an intellectual disability. Learners will explore best practice techniques for communication, assessment, and developing accessible materials for people with an intellectual disability.  The course will be led by Dr Eilish Burke, Ussher Assistant Professor in Ageing and Intellectual Disability at Trinity College Dublin and the Associate Director of the Trinity Centre for Ageing and Intellectual Disability.

“My goal in creating this course,” said Dr Burke, “is to share techniques that all allied healthcare professionals can adapt to their clinical practise, enriching their skills and improving engagement with all patients, ultimately empowering individuals with an intellectual disability to be partners in health.”

Helen Fuller, Healthcare Portfolio Lead at FutureLearn, commented: “The healthcare landscape is changing as we’re seeing more people, including those with an intellectual disability, living further into old age, yet there is still more to be done to meet the life expectancy of their non-disabled peers. The healthcare system has to adapt to address these changes, so we’re delighted to see Trinity pioneering this transformation by providing support to health professionals in an online format. We hope healthcare professionals will take advantage of being able to learn from experts and fellow learners, at their own pace and convenience, to help address this inequality.”  

Learners can join the course for free, or can upgrade for £52 to receive additional benefits.


Notes to Eds

What are Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)?

MOOCs are a free online learning experience.  Thousands of learners from all over the world come together to explore educational material delivered by Trinity’s leading academics.  Educational activities include videos, links, articles, simulations, reflections and discussions with learners across the globe. Trinity College has welcomed over 110,000 registered learners, from over 100 countries, to their five MOOCs on the FutureLearn platform since 2014.

About FutureLearn

Founded by The Open University in 2012, FutureLearn is a leading social learning platform, enabling online learning through conversation. With over 7 million people from over 200 countries across the globe – a community that is continuously growing – it offers free and paid for online courses from world-leading UK and international universities, as well as organisations such as the European Space Agency, the British Council and Cancer Research UK. FutureLearn’s course portfolio covers a wealth of areas to promote lifelong learning for a range of applications including general interest, an introduction to university studies, continuing professional development and fully online postgraduate degrees.

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