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Care teams urged to improve support for residents with communication disabilities

Better awareness of the impact deafness, deafblindness or visual impairment can have on a person’s wellbeing and inclusion is among recommendations for care teams made in a new report 

See Hear Strategy – lived experience consultation with ethnic minority people, published by the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, concludes that staff  could benefit from specific cultural and sensory awareness training, and could play a role in providing appropriate interpretation and any additional support to aid understanding and communication.

Research among people with communication problems suggests that sensory awareness training could feature in mandatory training pathways for health and social care staff. Respondents highlighted gaps in care, for example, when explaining interventions and supporting planning. Changes could be as simple as marking that an individual with a visual impairment prefers telephone communication and involving people with communication disabilities in the co-production of solutions.

People also felt that deafness was perceived as lower down the hierarchy of health and wellbeing needs.   

The report calls for the Scottish Government to conduct a long-term cost-benefit analysis to determine the financial impact on the NHS resulting from poorer health outcomes in people with communication difficulties. Such an analysis should also include an assessment of the equalities and human rights impacts of decision-making, including the intersectionalities of ethnicity and disability.

There are also calls for interventions to inform people from ethnic minorities about their legal rights, such as the Equality Act 2010. Questions about the research, should be directed to the Scottish Sensory Hub   

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