Scottish Council on Deafness is concerned that, because of the lack of specialised residential care, many deaf people are cared for in local care homes where they may be the only deaf person. It is therefore vital that care staff are equipped with the appropriate knowledge and training so that the needs of deaf people in their care are fully met.
Scottish Council on Deafness recommends:
1. All residential homes should be encouraged to carry out Equality Impact Assessments1 to ensure that the needs of deaf people are included in all areas of the home.
2. Each residential home should have an identifi ed manager who has a thorough understanding of deaf issues – with accredited deaf awareness training.2 They should be responsible for ensuring that services in the home are fully accessible to deaf people and be compliant with all legislation relevant to deaf people.
3. All staff who have contact with deaf residents and their visitors should have accredited deaf awareness and communication skills training and this should be delivered on a regular basis over the course of individual staff’s employment in the home.
4. Every deaf resident should receive a copy of their occupancy agreement in their preferred format. If a Deaf resident receives this in British Sign Language (BSL), then the home should provide the necessary means for the resident to be able to view it whenever they wish.
5. If the residential home has Deaf residents, there should be at least one member of staff present at all times with a minimum of Level 2 in BSL. All staff should be encouraged to learn BSL to Level 2.
6. Staff should be encouraged to use technology in their work to communicate with residents who are deafened3 to ensure that these residents are not isolated.
7. Whenever a deaf resident and/or their family/guardians meet with home staff to discuss the resident’s circumstances, appropriate communication support4 must be provided by the home. If the home has residents meetings, then appropriate communication support should be provided by the home to ensure deaf residents have equality of opportunity to take part.
8. Each residential home should have connections with deaf organisations in the area and encourage active links with these organisations and their deaf residents. This is especially important for Deaf and deafblind people so that they have regular contact with the Deaf community.
9. All areas of the home should have induction loops fi tted as standard – including public areas and residents’ rooms. Visual as well as auditory alarms should be fitted to make sure all residents and their visitors are safe. Staff should be trained in the operation and testing of these aids and appropriate records kept.
10. The home should be accessible to deaf visitors and should not rely only on telephone contact for residents and their family/visitors. Door entry systems should have a visual aspect to them so that deaf residents and visitors can gain access to the home.
11. Residents must be able to access captions on the home’s televisions and films/DVDs shown should have captions available.
12. All residents, even if they have not been diagnosed as being deaf, should have hearing tests at regular intervals. Staff should receive training on how to look after and fit hearing aids and should know where to access support for residents who use hearing aids. Each resident should have a named member of staff who will help them to put in their hearing aid(s) each day.
13. Each resident should have a named member of staff with the necessary communication skills who can ensure that the resident’s social and spiritual needs are catered for.
14. Each resident should have access to an independent advocate if they want one.
For further information please visit www.nationalcarestandards.org/138.html
1 For an explanation of these assessments, see our Information Sheet on Terminology
2 See our Information Sheet on Deaf Awareness Training
3 Our Information Sheet entitled Definitions of Deafness offers further guidance
4 More in our Information Sheet entitled Communication Support