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Frontline NHS staff put communication first

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Porters, cleaners and receptionists in Greater Glasgow and Clyde are pulling out all the stops to help patients who face communication difficulties. 

Throughout the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area, over 600 facilities staff  have taken part in dedicated communications training to help them when dealing with patients and members of the public who, for whatever reason, have difficulty speaking.

“I am immensely proud that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has become the first Health Board to invest so heavily in this training for frontline staff,” said project manager Jean Alexander.

“When we first talk about AAC (Alternative and Augmentative Communication) people react by saying they don’t understand.  But when you explain that it means people who have had a stroke or who have cerebral palsy or are autistic, people can more easily identify with this. It’s very simple things like making eye contact and giving the other person enough time to make themselves understood,” she added.

The awareness session take 40 minutes to complete and cover the signs staff can look out for as well as techniques on how they can help patients get their message across.

Michelle Martin is a domestic at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley. She said: “I found the training really informative. We were told to speak slowly and the tutors were great at explaining it from the other person’s point of view.

“It has definitely made me more confident in dealing with patients and visitors – I now know how to deal with these situations and the different things I can try. As domestics we always get stopped and asked for information and we were given tips like not turning away to point to things. I am so pleased I took part in the training and feel it’s given me the tools to deal with most situations.”

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