Hi-VisUK – Bradford partnership boost

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For several years we have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council through its Sensory Needs Service. Our collaboration continues to go from strength to strength. It all started with their team manager, Julie Ralph and her colleague Margaret Hird sampling our training which at the time was through our In Good Hands project. Bradford then commissioned us to deliver training to their teams on site including to some of their colleagues from neighbouring local authorities.

Recently two very exciting developments are taking shape. We both agree on the vital importance of local authorities being deafblind aware across a broad range departments and services, not just sensory services. But these are lean times with budget cuts severely limiting the ambitions of nearly every local authority in the land.

So to spread the training throughout Bradford City Council, we trained and mentored some of their sensory team who have now started to deliver our courses on their site. This work is done under a licence with us and all resources remain our copyright. We observe and monitor quality. Secondly we have been supporting them with their own first deafblindness e-learning course to further spread the awareness training across the Council.

Feedback on our training

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Great to see ongoing positive feedback from our training participants. We learn a lot from our courses through our interactions with participants who come from a wide cross-section of the health care and social care fields.

Colleagues from the fields of sensory loss support and acquired communications disorders are always generous in their sharing of experience and expertise whilst on our courses – thanks to all!

Click HERE to watch the latest video feedback, courtesy of our partners at SCIE.

Care Act compliant training: Hi-VisUK & SCIE

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Our aim is to build capacity of others to support older people with acquired dual sensory loss. A key element of this is the provision of our unique accredited training.

Strong foundations

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Hartlepool Borough Council is a key partner with Hi-VisUK in the development of a new pioneering co-production model for identification and support of older people living with dual sensory loss.

Making every contact count

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Hi-VisUK will be taking on the baton from our sister project In Good Hands to Make Every Contact Help in the health services arena. This provides a great opportunity to strengthen Hi-VisUK links with a wide range of health and wellbeing stakeholders, everyone from local authority meals services to community fire safety services.

Acquired Communication Disorders training demand

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Our OCN Level 2 course in Acquired Communications Disorders continues to show no signs of a decrease in interest. Care providers tell us there is nothing like this training anywhere else and that it is filling a huge gap in their understanding, confidence and skills – especially when combined with our highly practical and concise Hi-VisUK deafblindness training.

Specialist Assessor Training well received

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The partnership between SCIE and SCENE Enterprises CIC continues to thrive. Using our Hi-VisUK OCN Level 3 Specialist Deafblind Assessor course, participants have the option of an open course in London or closed courses exclusively for organisations and delivered on their site.  Workforce leads in the adult care sector from across the country continue to show interest in this unique course. Feedback has been extremely positive and further courses are being promoted via SCIEs website.

Celebrating Older People

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October 1st is Older People’s Day in England. Hi-VisUK will be organising its unique friendly “Talk and TryTM” sessions in care settings. The aim is to support the Full of Life principle by talking with elderly residents who whilst not recognised as deafblind, are found to have problems with both senses. At our sessions they can learn about aids and support that can help them continue with activities and interests.

Typically around 20 elderly residents will enjoy tea and cakes and the chance to talk with Hi-VisUK staff. They will try a range of low cost, easy to see and use equipment that help with daily tasks. For example, equipment to help safely pour a hot drink reducing the risk of scalding; a reading guide to make reading a newspaper, a book or a letter more easy; high colour contrast non-slip mats to aid food preparation in the kitchen, and big print magazines and TV guides.

For residents whose hearing has deteriorated significantly, our staff find a quiet corner during the “talk and try” sessions for one-to-one conversations and to make the most of any residual hearing.

The most vital step

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Hi-VisUK is a highly ambitious charity that, amongst other aims, is working to increase the number of older people with dual sensory loss or deafblindness requesting and receiving a specialist deafblind assessment. This is no easy task and yet it is the most vital step.

Trying to reach older people with age acquired deafblindness is a significant challenge despite the numbers. The vast majority of older people likely to have this devastating condition, those aged 50 years and above, do not see themselves as deafblind. Department of Health (DH) describes this in its Care Act policy guidance (2014) when it acknowledges “many people do not define themselves as either deafblind or having dual sensory loss.”

There are several issues and challenges in recognising deafblindness in older people. For example there are older people receiving social service care who are not identified as deafblind. DH explains: “this could be because an assessment was carried out when only one sense was affected or because both senses have deteriorated since the care package (including residential care) has started.” Other impairments including those that are often associated with ageing “may mask the deafblindness.”

This presents a nationwide picture where age-acquired deafblindness really is a Cinderella condition. This despite it currently affecting an estimated 600,000 older people. Government estimates 40/100,000 people have the condition in this country but this is likely to be closer to 572/100,000 according to one research report (Emerson, E, SENSE 2010). By 2035 the numbers of older people with deafblindness are set to rise by 60% within main population trends as people live longer lives (CeDR 2010, ONS 2012).

Training the professionals

We recently delivered training to social workers, care workers, and managers from six local authorities. Participants were taking part in our unique Specialist Deafblind Assessor Level 3 training. Feedback has been really positive.

Many have commented on how useful it was to be able to share their new learning journey with peers from different authorities. This is one of our project aims – to bring key stakeholders together for real and lasting change in the north east region.

Others said it had given them “a sense of confidence in working with deafblind people”.