Cwm Taf is improving services for patients with sensory loss at Mountain Ash

Patients with sensory loss will now have a much better experience when they visit the outpatient department at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon, Mountain Ash.
Poorly designed environments and not being communicated with properly are major barriers for people with sensory loss and make otherwise independent people dependent on guides and/or family members.
This experience will be a thing of the past for patients when they arrive at the outpatient department.
Thanks to Stephen Barnard, deputy manager and the staff of the department, aids to help patients with sensory loss have been introduced. 
Stephen said: “Effective communication between staff and patients with sensory loss is reliant on staff awareness of the patient’s particular communication needs.
All staff in the outpatient department have undertaken training in sensory loss and have embraced the changes in the department.”
On arrival patients will now be handed a communication booklet which includes:
  • Picture cards
  • Finger spelling alphabet
  • Clock – to identify appointment times
  • Word chart
  • Number and month chart
  • Loop hearing system
Future developments will include an ‘alert’ sticker on the front page of patients’ notes which will enhance the current services in the department. Providing this basic information on patient files using a flagging system will help improve patient experience to the extent where patients feel that all staff are able to communicate well with them because they have the knowledge and skills to do so.
The health board has also embraced the ‘Hello My Name Is…’ campaign, which means that all members of staff now introduce themselves to patients which improves the patient experience from the outset. http://hellomynameis.org.uk/
Liz Jenkins, equality manager for Cwm Taf University Health Board said: “Stephen attended the Sensory Loss Awareness training which we run within the health board. 
“This is a great example of staff having a real understanding of the issues people with sensory loss face and putting effective and innovative systems in place to simply enable them to communicate and through this to significantly improve their experience. 
“This is a model that can be used in outpatient areas throughout the health board in all other patient areas too.”
Stephen is a sensory loss champion, if you are interested in being one too, please contact liz.jenkins@wales.nhs.uk
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