The inspirational work of a local care home in supporting residents with hearing loss is being highlighted by a charity campaigning to transform the quality of care for residents who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Following the publication of its new report ‘A World of Silence’, Action on Hearing Loss is calling on the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to introduce communication standards and ensure that care homes have procedures in place to fully support residents with hearing loss.
Action on Hearing Loss is highlighting Orchard Care Homes as an example of good practice as they have put procedures in place to effectively manage the hearing loss of residents in their 42 care homes across northern England.
Before Orchard rolled out their new hearing support procedures to all care homes, Action on Hearing Loss worked with staff at the Hawthornes care home in Mill Lane, Bradford Road, Birken-shaw.
‘Hearing ambassadors’ were shown how to look for signs that residents had hearing loss, such as difficulty hearing conversations or turning up the television to loud levels, and how to support them. Staff received deaf awareness training and were trained to give basic hearing checks. The check results are recorded in the residents’ individual care plans and, if required, they are referred for a specialist hearing test.
Orchard Care Homes have also changed seating arrangements so that people can lipread other residents and have also minimised background noise by using table cloths to dampen the sound of cutlery. Induction loop systems, which help people who wear hearing aids, are in all communal lounges.
Chief executive of Action on Hearing Loss Paul Breckell said: “Orchard Care Homes are doing great work ensuring they have a procedure in place to assess, record and manage their residents’ hearing loss. We would like to see more care homes across the region and country follow Orchard’s lead.”
Chief executive of Orchard Care Homes Paul Mancey said: “We recognised that more than one in eight of our residents had been diagnosed with hearing loss. We approached Action on Hearing Loss for their help in supporting these residents and we are proud to be working in partnership to develop our programme. Since introducing the recommendations from ‘A World of Silence’ in all of our homes, we have discovered much higher levels of hearing loss than previously diagnosed. This programme is making a real difference to residents’ quality of life.”