Nurses in Birmingham are taking part in a trial scheme aimed at improving hospital care for patients with hearing difficulties.
The charity Action on Hearing loss is working with the Heart of England Foundation Trust on the pilot, which will look at how hearing checks on admission and better recording of information about hearing loss could help improve care and avoid problems.
New efforts to identify hearing loss and understand patients’ needs could help prevent communication problems between staff, mislaid or unused hearing aids, and even misdiagnosis in extreme cases, say the project’s organisers.
Findings from the scheme, which is taking part at Heartlands Hospital and is due to finish in March 2014, will be used to shape national guidance on nursing care for people with hearing loss.
Pilot project manager Emma Kiteley, from Action on Hearing Loss, said: “Our ground-breaking project in Birmingham will identify key points in a patient’s hospital experience when it is essential that information about their hearing loss is recorded and, crucially, acted upon to ensure that they are able to communicate most effectively and receive the best possible care.”
Mary Bruce, clinical nurse educator for elderly care at Heart of England, said the scheme would also help raise awareness of “the far-reaching impact hearing loss has on so many of our patients”.
The pilot is being funded by the Department of Health’s Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development fund.