Who are late-deafened individuals, and how can we make healthcare more accessible for them?
Late-deafened individuals, in general, are those who experience hearing loss after childhood. Most late-deafened adults have oral communication skills that they obtained before their hearing loss.
Trauma, long-term exposure to loud noises, such as in the workplace, and illnesses can all cause hearing loss after childhood. Navigating the healthcare setting with late-deafness can be challenging, and communication can become strained without the proper communication tools.
Some individuals who have late-deafness do not know or use Sign Language. This can lead to communication issues in the healthcare and medical setting. The late-deafened individual may not know there are resources, like Care Captions, that can help them during healthcare visits. Below are several ways in which you can improve communication with late-deafened individuals in the healthcare setting.
1. Advocate For Your Patient
Whether the late-deafened individual is navigating the healthcare field for the first or hundredth time, they may not be aware of resources available to them.
If you have a patient who is hearing impaired and who does not know or use Sign Language you can advocate for them by assuring the resources included in this article are available, and that the patient is aware of them.
2. Choose A Quiet Area
The ability to hear clearly becomes more strained when other voices and noises are involved. If you need to speak with a late-deafened individual, choose a quiet area to do so.
A quiet area is a place away from other patients, other healthcare personnel, and in a place without electronic noises like printers and fax machines.
3. Face The Patient When Speaking
Good patient care starts with good communication. In addition to assuring you’re in a quiet area for communicating, you should also make sure to face the late-deafened individual while you speak.
Even if the individual cannot read lips, it is much easier to hear what a person is saying when standing face-to-face. It is also a good idea to be close to the individual, while maintaining personal space, and not across the room while communicating.
4. Provide CART Services
Care Captions services are a resource that allow for real-time communication in the healthcare setting. These services are preferred to writing notes or using a family member for communication for accuracy and patient autonomy.
CART services are invaluable for late-deafened adults who do not know or use Sign Language. Care Captions services can be used in any healthcare setting including hospital stays, therapy, telemedicine, and more.
5. Provide Written Material
Care Captions will provide an edited transcript to your facility after the patient’s event is complete. This can be sent to or requested by the patient to further facilitate communication.
In addition to a Care Captions transcript, you should provide written information whenever possible to your late-deafened patient. Information including the diagnosis, treatment plan, and copies of any referrals or tests are very helpful to patients.
Care Captions can provide CART services to your late-deafened patients.
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