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MAKING WAVES is here!

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We are thrilled to announce that our flagship project MAKING WAVES funded by The National Lottery Community Fund (England) is now up and running. It will drive our work over the next three years as we create local networks in project areas.

We are working strategically with local authority partners and a bespoke network of local providers in Bradford, Cornwall and Hartlepool to change the experience of dual sensory impairment (DSI) and transform the face of DSI care.

Our co-production networks in the three areas and a new e-learning platform dedicated to dual sensory impairment, will help reshape the local care provider marketplace around the lived experience conversations we have with local people with DSI.

The learning we achieve in MAKING WAVES local partnerships will be shared nationally and internationally. Keep up with MAKING WAVES developments in our NEWS page.

Supporting World Mental Health Day

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Hi-VisUK will continue to support World Health Day in the coming years. Last year our sister project, In Good Hands, attended World Mental Health Day celebrations in Hartlepool. This is part of our ongoing development of strategic and practical links in the borough as part of a planned Hi-VisUK & Hartlepool Borough Council (HBC) collaboration.

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.

Raising our profile

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To be successful at Hi-VisUK we will constantly work to raise our profile at a local and regional level (as well as nationally). Opportunity to talk with other local disability organisations, national manufacturers and suppliers of aids and equipment is one part of a complex jigsaw of supporting organisations – who all need to know more about age acquired deafblindness. It is also an opportunity to meet older people with deafblindness who visited such events as photographed above.

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.

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).

I didn’t know there was so much I could do!

Our training courses seem to be plugging a large gap in awareness of deafblindness in older people, “I didn’t realise there were so many tools I could use”.  Participants are finding the mix of theory and practical makes the learning highly accessible “Extremely informative, full of useful scenarios”.

The confidence gained in our training is showing through feedback from participants: “I have learnt a lot and I will go out and show as many as I can what I have learnt”‘ “I feel that if a deafblind visitor came into our centre I would be more confident in approaching them for the first time than I have been because of practising the block alphabet”.

“I will use this tomorrow with my Grandad!”

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Our highly practical Deafblind courses give participants a uniquely rounded understanding of the role and the skills required when guiding a deafblind person. After our training, not only can you say what a communicator guide is but you can do it too! The day builds on our deafblindness awareness foundation course that participants need to do before they can enrol onto this course.

Participants particularly enjoy the challenge of guiding and of being guided blindfold or wearing sight-loss simulation glasses! Navigating around a room, up and down stairs, in and out of doors, sitting at a dinner table and getting into a car – such a lot to learn you may think but the feedback says: “Enjoyed it all day!” “Very good”, “I can use all I have learned straight away”, “The training I had getting a deafblind person into a car I will use tomorrow with my Grandad who is deafblind”.

Understanding and supporting older people with Acquired Communication Disorders

Our unique Acquired Communication Disorders OCN Level 2 course looks at a range of disorders that can affect older people. Led by two qualified speech and language specialists, the feedback is good:

“Informative but not overloading”, “Great content!”, “Well delivered course”. “Ideas for communication were useful, I could use them with one client who would benefit”.

Participants learned about types of communication disorder acquired in older age. For example the various types of aphasia and dysarthia plus their impacts on speech and language. They then looked at useful communication aids and practical approaches.

Creating awareness

Our Foundation course in deafblindeness awareness is proving to be really popular with a wide range of people. Particpants come from a broad range of organisations in the community, including care service providers from private, public and voluntary sectors.

Feedback is positive: “I enjoyed the whole course”, “I found it all very interesting”, I enjoyed learning about the obstacles a deafblind person faces in every day life”, “Am looking forward to your other training”, “Gained knowledge and guidance around different types of deafblindness”, Comprehensive outline of deafblindness that I feel I can put in to action at work and in my own life tomorrow”, “Lots of learning styles catered for!”,