Getting the message out

Sue Hoare-Leather
Sue Hoare-Leather

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has made special efforts to highlight the services on offer for people with impaired vision or hearing.

To mark Deafblind Awareness Week, the trust has been working with charities and groups to run information stalls at both the University Hospital of Hartlepool and University Hospital of North Tees.

Groups involved over the course of the week included Hartlepool Healthwatch, Hartlepool Deaf Centre, Action on Hearing Loss, Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, Angel Eyes Enterprise and Action for Blind People.

The trust has also been telling people about the improvements it has made to its services and informing people about its future plans.

As well as having stalls and displays, some of the restaurant food menus were presented in Braille during the week.

Quality assurance nurse Sue Hoare-Leather said: “The week was an excellent opportunity to get the message out to people about the wide range of services that are available.

“It was also a chance to tell people about the work we have been doing to improve our services.

“This work has included some advice and direction from patients or carers affected by these issues. Improvements have then been made improvements based on the feedback.

“Since then, we have set up a sensory loss task group, looked into how we can improve the equipment available to help patients, held staff forums and recruited sensory loss champions in wards and we have reviewed patient feedback.

“I would like to thank everyone who has helped us in this work for their hard work and commitment.

“In the next six months the trust is aiming to make a number of further improvements.”

These improvements will include ensuring each ward is provided with a ‘kit box’ of equipment that will support patients, such as hearing aid batteries, magnifying glasses, picture cards and Braille books. These boxes will be managed by the ward and department sensory loss champions.

These champions will also be offered deafblind awareness training. It is hoped this training can then be rolled out as optional training for all staff groups and possibly also included in the trust induction process.

Sue added: “We are also planning to work with dementia and learning disability specialists to share expertise. We also hope to influence changes to nursing documents to highlight and record adjustments that need to be made for patients with sensory loss. We are looking forward to carrying out these improvements over the next few months.”