Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT) has become the first NHS Trust in England to gain accreditation to a new standard which supports people with extra communication needs.
The Trust is now entitled to display the Communication Access symbol to show it has reached the standard required in accessible communication.
The Communication Access Symbol, with underpinning training and standards, is a multi award-winning initiative that has been created for businesses, organisations and consumers by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) in partnership with the Stroke Association, Headway, MND Association, Business Disability Forum, Communication Matters, The Makaton Charity, and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums.
More than 4,500 organisations and individuals have now registered with the scheme since its launch last November, and NDHT has committed to offering the CAUK training package to its entire workforce.. This package has been developed as four modules to allow staff across businesses and organisations to improve how they communicate and engage with people in a much more effective and inclusive way.
Millions of people across the UK have communication difficulties throughout their lives. This can affect their ability to speak, hear and understand what is being said to them. Some people find it hard to ask a question, name an object or ask for help, while others may have speech difficulties that make them difficult to understand. People can also have difficulties with processing information, reading, and writing or may use communication devices that require time to create their messages.
The training is designed to allow organisations to adopt and implement the elements most appropriate to their needs, including the following:
- an introductory module designed to raise awareness of communication difficulties;
- a module to support better face-to-face communication;
- a module to support better communication over the phone and
- a module to support better written communication.
Andrea Bell, Deputy Chief Nurse at NDHT, said: “At NDHT, we encounter a huge variety of patients with extra communication needs, from those who may have had a stroke to people with visual or hearing impairments. It’s vital that we are able to communicate with them to give them the best possible care.
“We’re extremely proud to be the first Trust in England to become part of CAUK, and we hope other Trusts will follow our lead in facilitating the best possible communication with patients.”
Nick Hewer, President of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, said: “People who have communication difficulties often feel marginalised by society because their needs can be hidden in a way that other disabilities are not.
“Achieving the Communication Access UK standards and displaying the symbol is a great way for organisations to show they value all their customers by being keen and able to communicate inclusively with people who currently have difficulties accessing their services. It’s a lifeline for millions of people, so I’m delighted that North Devon Healthcare NHS Trust has embraced this important initiative.”
Beverley Snowden, Stroke/Neuro Rehab Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist at NDHT, said: “When Communication Access UK was launched last year, speech and language therapists very quickly saw what a great resource it is and encouraged people to access the training.
“I’m so pleased and proud to be part of Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust who has gone a step further and recognised the huge benefit in becoming accredited with CAUK, the first trust to do so in UK. How great is that?! Working for the trust we learn about our values that include respecting diversity and being compassionate. Offering accessible communication is fundamental to this positive culture. I guess it’s the difference between good care and truly excellent care.”
To find out more information and register for free Communication Access training visit: www.communication-access.co.uk