Our latest conference Ageing and Deafness took place at The Resource for London on 16th October.
The primary concern for the UKCoD conference Ageing and Deafness – implications for health and social care, was to put hearing loss firmly on the agenda.
A key theme of the day was communication and its impact on: choice, control and maintaining dignity and respect – and in the case of dementia – an accurate diagnosis. The research presented during the day identified social isolation as a major concern. Many Deaf people would be prepared to move away from their ‘home’ community in order to receive accessible and appropriate care. An example of specialist residential care provided by and for Deaf people in De Gelderhorst (Netherlands) demonstrated how Deaf people living together in an fully accessible environment felt empowered. In parallel, Orchard’s mainstream provision showed how an educated staff with the correct attitude can provide appropriate care to clients who are hard of hearing. This theme was developed further in terms of health service provision, highlighting the need for medical staff to be trained and general healthcare guidelines to include meeting the needs of those with a hearing loss, for example in hospital policies. Reliable outcomes measurement is necessary to enable us to judge the effectiveness of all services: Action on Hearing Loss have developed an on line tool for this purpose. It is clear that more research in terms of need is required; for this we can look to the recent publication from RAD and Sonus: ‘Older Deaf people and Social Care: A review’ and the SORD report on the needs of the Deaf community in Wales.
We need to continue to raise the issue of appropriate care for Deaf, hard of hearing and Deafblind people in all areas where decisions about future care provision are being made. It is not a case of one service ‘fits all’ – older people should have choice and above all access to information to enable them to make that choice.
Read our Full Conference Report