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Understanding deafness - an 'invisible disability' - at GCS

Mon 9th November, 2015
Understanding deafness - an 'invisible disability' - at GCS

In the UK there are estimated to be around seven million people with a hearing impairment. Deafness can affect anyone, young or old, including our patients, clients, families and work colleagues.

'Hearing Me: Understanding Hearing Loss’ is the work of a group of people from Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust. They embraced Listening into Action (LiA), getting together with a local charity to produce a powerful film for use with all staff and an entirely different approach to mandatory training.

Colleagues at the Trust were not happy with the e-learning on offer. They found it insular, staid and too focused on definitions and legislation. Instead, they wanted to create an alternative approach to training – one that was engaging, relevant and moving – and to promote understanding, empathy and compassion for people who are different to ourselves. They wanted to focus on real people, their lives and challenges, and enable colleagues to change their working practice to meet different needs.

Through their LiA Team Conversation, the group decided to concentrate on people with a hearing impairment. They used a truly collaborative process to create a training film, combining the knowledge of the Gloucestershire Deaf Association, the skills of local film-maker James Banks, and a hefty dose of creativity.

The resulting film will be used to give colleagues a touching insight into what it is like to be hard-of-hearing, and to inspire them to change their practice to enhance the experiences of deaf or hard-of-hearing patients and colleagues. The film shows colleagues what they can do to better communicate with people with hearing loss, whether that’s in work meetings, clinics, visits, or on the telephone. It also offers clear advice on how to work with people who lip-read. The film is designed to be watched by a group (such as in a team meeting), though it can also be watched individually. The film incorporates ‘pauses for thought’ throughout to enable people to reflect on and discuss what they have heard and seen, and to think about how they need to change their own practice.

The training will be launched in January 2016, and all colleagues at Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust will be required to view the film. Here is a short taster of what this innovative and passionate team have come up with...


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