Sensory Care

As a care worker you will come across people with a number of sensory needs. This could include speech impediment and sign loss. You should always consider the perspective and feelings of the person you are supporting. Deafblind patients (and others with sight problems) are at more risk than other clients of coming to harm by walking into things or tripping over items left on the floor. They will also be at risk if there is a fire or other kind of alert and they do not hear the alarm. It would be helpful if you could follow the following recommendations:

 Keep aisles, doorways, walkways, stairs and other floor space clear of all obstructions including signs, stacks or boxes of goods, rubbish and other items.

 If the fire alarm (or other alarm) is raised check for any clients who may not have heard it or seen other patients leaving and if necessary help them to leave the building.

 Try not to wash floors when clients are using them – deafblind people can€™t see a slippery surface and can€™t see warning signs or hear a shouted warning. If you have to wash floors keep a watch out for any clients who may not be able to see properly.

When you are planning redecoration consider the use of contrasting (matt) colours for walls, doors, doorframes and floors

A person with hearing difficulties may:

  • – Complain that others mumble or speak too quickly
  • – Ask others to repeat what they€™ve said
  • – Ask others to speak louder
  • – Repeat words to verify what€™s been said
  • – Find it difficult to keep up conversations in noisy environments or in a group
  • – Have difficulty understanding unfamiliar people or accents
  • – Get tired in conversations because of the need to concentrate
  • – Withdraw from situations where conversation is expected
  • – Need TV or radio volume louder than is comfortable for others
  • – Find it hard to hear on the telephone
  • – Use a hearing aid or loop system

Speaking to deafblind people on the telephone

Deafblind patients may prefer to contact you by phone particularly if they find it difficult to get to your premises and find their way around. They are likely to phone you using the TYPETALK Service for deaf people.

If a deafblind person phones you using this service this is what will happen:

A trained operator will say €˜hello this is Typetalk€™ and will ask if you have used the service before. If you haven€™t they will explain that they have a deaf or deafblind person on the phone who wants to speak to you.

The operator will read out what the deafblind person wants to say to you. You can then speak as you would to anyone else, although talking more slowly so that the operator has time to type out what you are saying. At the other end the deafblind person will be using special equipment to read what you have said. You may find this service rather slow to begin with but you will soon get used to it-remember it is difficult for the deafblind person too. Please be patient and take your time to give clear information.

You can also telephone deafblind people through Typetalk. It costs no more than phoning someone directly. To do this:

1. Phone Typetalk on freephone 0800 51 51 52 and ask to open an account (this is free).

2. Make sure all staff have the account number.

3. When you need to phone a deafblind person who uses Typetalk just dial 0800 51 51 52, quote your company’s Typetalk account number and give the operator the deafblind person’s phone number.

The operator will then put you through to the deafblind person.

If you think this sounds complicated you can phone Sense (020 7272 7774) or Deafblind UK (01733 358100) and ask a member of staff to talk you through it.


What is Fingerspelling?

 Fingerspelling is a method of spelling words using hand movements.

Fingerspelling is used in sign language to spell out names of people and places for which there is not a sign.

Fingerspelling can also be used to spell words for signs that the signer does not know the sign for, or to clarify a sign that is not known by the person reading the signer.

Fingerspelling signs are often also incorporated into other signs.

(E.g. the sign for ‘gold’ is the fingerspelt ‘g’ and then moving your hands away in a shimmering motion)


Why not use fingerspelling instead of Sign Language?

 It would be impractical just to use fingerspelling.

Conversations would take hours, and it would be very hard to add feeling and expression to a conversation that was just using fingerspelling.

Sign language is a hugely more efficient form of communication when compared with just using fingerspelling.