Case Study of Mrs D who is 83 years old
Mrs D was becoming increasingly withdrawn and depressed and no longer wanted to attend her Day Centre, which she had previously enjoyed. Communication was becoming difficult and Mrs D was getting very frustrated and upset.
A referral was received to assess Mrs D’s dual sensory needs under Section 7 of the Local Authority Act (1970).
A Dual Sensory Specialist Assessment of Needs was carried out, and a number of recommendations were made, including an Individual Communication Support Plan.
Extract from Dual Sensory Specialist Assessment:
Mrs D is 83 has been profoundly deaf since the age of 24 and has entirely relied on receiving communication through visual clues, including lip reading, facial expressions, gestures and written word. Mrs D expressive speech is often difficult to understand.
She has no sight in her left eye and describes her sight in her right eye as sometimes being very blurred and misty.
Mrs D is unable to hear or be alerted to any environmental sound. She lives alone in a two bedroomed house with a large garden and has one distant family member living in the next town. Her previous long-time friend and neighbour has died recently. Previously she had been a very active member of her community.
Having recently been diagnosed with a medical condition, she requires a number of hospital appointments and clinic visits for treatments. She is no longer able to use the Minicom service and relies on another younger neighbour to make telephone calls. This neighbour also delivers food and writes cheques for her household bills and occasionally takes her to the hospital visits. Her mobility had deteriorated since a fall in her garden, along with her confidence to go out alone. She has carer support for personal care 3 times a week.
A number of risks and needs were identified and referrals made to appropriate services.
Communication Support Plan
A Communication Support Plan was set up, taking time to establish Mrs D’s preferred communication methods and how to support and work together with her to identify new tactile methods and adapt her current methods. Recognising the need to use a consistent approach in all settings, using a combination of tactile, visual methods and good communication tactics
These guidelines were shared with her significant communication partners, and training and awareness provided to the carers, day centre staff, the neighbour, family member, GP and District Nurse.
Other services and communication strategies were put in place, including a Communicator Guide Service, to support her daily living and additional needs. Most importantly, these adapted communication guidelines enabled the Day Centre staff, carers and family member to understand her communication needs and support her more effectively and meaningfully, following best practice.
To learn more about how to effectively communicate with Deafblind people visit the Communications Workshops page.
To learn more about Section 7 Guidance for Deafblind Adults and Children visit the Dual Sensory Assessments page.