Coming to hospital if you are deaf or hard of hearing
Coming into a hospital can be stressful and worrying for all patients and visitors. We know that there are added communication barriers for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. We want to make sure our deaf and hard of hearing patients get the healthcare they need and most importantly the care and support communicated in a way that they need. We offer face to face British Sign Language(BSL) interpreting and relay video BSL via SignLive.
Email address to go live at The Royal London and Mile End
We want to make sure you get the best healthcare and have the easiest experience you can have.
Following feedback, we are trialling a dedicated email address from 1 September at The Royal London and Mile End hspitals so that you have one point of contact about your care, or any other questions or queries.
Specialist help and support
Our wards and departments have access to:
- iPads for emergency relay BSL interpreting
- Communication books which have pictures, practical tips on how to support patients with hearing loss and a fingerspelling alphabet.
- Pictoral menus
If you need any specialist help and support please contact the following teams for each site:
Contact The Royal London or Mile End in BSL
You can contact The Royal London and Mile End Hospitals in BSL, for free, via SignLive.
You can either use SignLive on a web browser or download the SignLive app for Android or iOS.
You have to create an account the first time you use SignLive. This will keep your account secure and allow SignLive staff to call you back if they need to.
What you need to do
- Visit the SignLive website or download the SignLive app for Android or the SignLive app for iOS
- Sign in or create an account
- Select The Royal London and Mile End Hospitals from the community directory
- You’ll be connected to an interpreter who will relay the call through to a member of our team.
If you have any problems using SignLive, get in touch
Improving your experience with patient groups
At Barts Health, we are improving the experiences of our d/Deaf patients, starting with a pilot at The Royal London and Mile End hospitals where we are trialing ways to reduce barriers to outpatient services.
In May 2021, we held a joint focus group with deafPLUS to explore what these experiences and barriers to access were. Patients with hearing impairments reported difficulties with:
- Communicating with the service, including only phone options being available
- Understanding communications from the hospital
- Lack of sign language interpreters during consultations
As it stands, our d/Deaf or hard of hearing patients experience poorer quality communications than others when receiving treatment. Good quality communication is particularly important when we are providing our patients with a diagnosis, providing treatment or giving post-discharge instructions and information.
Using feedback from our initial focus group, we are making changes and introducing measures to make these experiences easier and more accessible.
How are we improving experiences?
- Invested in 140 hospital communication books for inpatient wards, which will aid communication for people with a variety of needs
- 50 pre-hospital communication guides for A&E and outpatient areas
- Trialing 100 food/drink keyrings for quick and easy nutrition and hydration needs · Setting up a d/Deaf improvement group, and we are actively looking for participants
- Fully qualified registered BSL interpreters booked through the Newham Language Shop
- 24/7 BSL video interpreting through Sign Live
We can also communicate via email or chat for patients who are unable to contact us on the phone:
- To change or cancel appointments
- Access issues and resolution service
- Chat box on our maternity and appointments pages
- Patient and family contact centre
Our next steps
- Look at how we identify hearing impaired patients and to see how we can improve this
- Raising staff awareness on how we can better support patients
- Establish a hard of hearing patient user group
In order to continue to improve our services, we need to work together with our d/Deaf patients. If you would like to get involved with the improvement group, get in touch