A report published today by the national deafblind charity, Sense, highlights the health inequalities and barriers faced by deafblind people accessing healthcare in England.
It comes ahead of the implementation of the Accessible Information Standard on July 31st, and stresses the urgent need for all health and social care providers to deliver a more accessible system for patients with sensory loss.
There are estimated to be over 358,000 deafblind people in the UK and they have some of the greatest health needs in society, with 69 per cent reporting two or more additional long-term health conditions, and 70 per cent requiring ongoing support from a GP or healthcare professional. This underlines the need for all healthcare services to be accessible to people who are deafblind, but to date this need is unmet.
The report indicates that inaccessible information and lack of communication support are the key barriers currently preventing deafblind people from accessing healthcare:
- One in two (56 per cent) deafblind people have left a GP appointment having not understood what had been discussed. Many reported needing to rely on a friend or family member to answer their questions or provide support and the lack of independence that this brought.
- More than three quarters (85 per cent) of deafblind people don’t get information about their healthcare appointments or follow up correspondence in a format that they can access. Most reported that they needed to rely on someone else to read their letters for them so that they could know what was contained in them.
More than a third (35 per cent) of deafblind people are not confident in managing their own health, and it is clear that the current system has put further strain on a group who already feel stressed and anxious.
The introduction of the Accessible Information Standard on July 31st represents a significant step towards addressing barriers to healthcare and improving accessibility for people who are deafblind. It sets out what providers must do in order to identify, record and meet the information and communication needs of those who use their services.
Timed to coincide with its introduction, the Sense report sets out why its successful implementation is essential to improve the lives of deafblind people across the country.
The full report can be downloaded at: https://www.sense.org.uk/healthreport
The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
Please note that the views of the writers are their own, and not necessarily the views of the Editor or site as a whole. Read our disclaimer here.
- Rayovac: Never run out of hearing aid batteries again by subscribing!
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. Find out how to add Live Captions to Facebook Live!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Hearing Direct: Online hearing aids
- Signature: Leading awarding body for BSL qualifications
- Signworld: Learn BSL online!
- Cast Theatre, Doncaster: The UK's the UK’s first fully BSL integrated pantomime
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- Sign Solutions: communication support, training and translation
- InterpretersLive: On demand BSL video interpretation
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- deafPLUS: BSL advice helpline
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Deaf Independent: Deaf care and support services
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- cSeeker: Deaf-led educational communication support service
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people