Disability Awareness #Receptionists Training


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Staff training is important not only for the Receptionist but for the patient too. Trained staff are confident staff and therefore can often handle difficult situations in the Reception area.

When we talk about staff training we automatically think of

       Telephone Skills

       Patient Confidentiality

       Dealing with Difficult Situations

       Reception Etiquette

But how many Practices offer Disability Awareness Training for their Reception staff?

The attitudes of staff are crucial in ensuring that the needs of disabled people are met.

There are many types of disabilities, and can affect a person’s:

  •        Vision
  •        Movement
  •        Thinking
  •        Remembering
  •        Learning
  •        Communicating
  •        Hearing
  •        Mental Health
  •        Social Relationships

Are you staff prepared if a wheelchair user needs assistance or if a patient has a visual impairment and needs help? It is important that Receptionists understand the needs of your patients that have a disability. And of course there are the hidden disabilities that we need to be made aware of too.

Disability Awareness Training will help your staff:

  •        Understand the barriers faced by people with disabilities
  •        To help identify when accessibility is important
  •        Explore their own attitude towards disability and accessibility
  •        Define the medical and social model of disability
  •        Identify barriers people with disabilities face and how to remove those barriers
  •        Develop an awareness within the team
  •        Be aware and be able to use appropriate language and body language in relation to a person with a disability
  •        Feel more confident in their role

Disabilities can include

  •        Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  •        Autism
  •        Brain Injury
  •        Hearing Loss and Deafness
  •        Intellectual Disability
  •        Learning Disability
  •        Memory Loss
  •        Mental Illness
  •        Physical Disability
  •        Speech and Language Disorders
  •        Vision Loss and Blindness

and not forgetting

Temporary Disabilities, which can include:

  •        Sporting injuries
  •        People with broken bones
  •        People recovering from an operation
  •        Pregnant Woman
  •        People with Severe back pain
  •        People with young children / pushchairs (in the event of an emergency they may require assistance)

These people and people with permanent disabilities are important when it comes to evacuating the building in the case of an emergency. Are you staff trained in emergency evacuation and assisting people with a disability in such an event?

When someone speaks of a disabled person do you automatically think ………….Wheelchair? Actually wheelchair users only account for 6% of that figure. There are so many disabilities that we cannot actually see. Some disabilities you can see and some you can’t.

The Hidden Disability

Whilst it is very easy identify someone in a wheelchair, be it a guide dog or walking aid, or someone who has aids in their ears, it is the hidden disability that can often go unnoticed.

People today still have problems with reading and writing; I came across this several times when I was working in Reception. 99% of the patients would not own up to this, it was simple observation on my part that identify this and in turn I was able to help the patient without too much of a fuss drawn to them.

It is important when patients object to filling out forms at the front desk that you do not “insist” it simply might be that they cannot read or write.

Often the excuses they use when asked to complete a form is “oh I have left my glasses at home” or I am in a hurry can I take it away and bring it back later” and even “I am not sure of the information I will need to go home and find this out and bring it back later” to which some will but many will not return the forms. People that have problems reading and writing do feel intimidated if the Receptionist insists as they quite often have to “own up” to their disability often causing embarrassment to them and the Receptionist.

Knowing the signs the Receptionist will be able to deal with the situation in such a way that the patient is unaware of the Receptionists suspicions. Offering to help fill out the form in a quiet area is often met with such a relief from the patient. They are more than happy to let the Receptionist help. Again, if the Receptionist suspects that the patient might have problems with reading and writing she can offer to help the patient in the future. Trust is built up between the patient and the Receptionist and quite often the patient will confide in the Receptionist of their disability.

It is important that staff have an understanding of different disabilities, and how best to help them.

Often speakers from different Disability organisations will only be too happy to come into your organisation and speak to staff, highlighting areas that will benefit the patients and the Receptionists.

Sending staff on external training courses is also an option, you could send one member of staff and they could come back and train other Receptionists, or you could send different staff to different courses therefore getting a mix of knowledge in the Reception area. All of which will greatly benefit the patients and the Receptionists.

Disabled people go to school, work, form relationships, do their washing, eat, get angry, pay taxes, laugh, try, have prejudices, vote, plan and dream like anyone else.

Whilst the disability is an integral part of who they are, it alone does not define them, do not label them.

Treat them as individuals.

 

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved
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Help I’m Confused #Bupa #LivingWithDementia #CardGame


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Dementia is something many of us will come across, be it through our work, family, friends or personal circumstances.

For those of us that come across with through work it is important that you understand the needs of the dementia, to be aware or their needs – and just as important the needs of their carers.

I have witnessed this through family members and it takes it toll on the carer who in turn might become ill through the stresses of caring for the patient.

Unless you have ever experienced caring for someone with dementia it is so very hard to explain, every day living can be challenging and utterly exhausting.

I recently came across this excellent insight in what a small part of a patient suffering with dementia can experience, for me taking the test got me frustrated, I played it several times, being beaten every time, but just pause whilst you get frustrated and play it again, stop and think what it would be like to face challenges like this every day

Take the challenge            http://thememorychallenge.co.uk/      Bupa.webloc

How did you get on?

Whilst I cannot take credit for the game I would like to say done to Bupa for sharing this with us all and a small part of what life as a Dementia sufferer can be like.

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Other post that I have done on Dementia:

 

When Love Shines Through #LivingWithDementia http://wp.me/p1zPRQ-vr

Dementia and the Carer #DementiaAwarenessWeek http://wp.me/p1zPRQ-vv

Its Not Always About The Patient #Dementia #Carer http://wp.me/p1zPRQ-xR

Its Not Always About The Patient #Dementia #Carer


There are currently approx 800,000 people with dementia in the UK.

Over 17,000 are younger people with dementia and there will be over a million people with dementia in the UK by 2021.

Two thirds of people with dementia are women. One third of people over 96 have dementia.

60,000 deaths a year are directly attributable to dementia.

The final cost of dementia to the UK will be over £23 billion in 2012.

There are 670,000 carers of people with dementia in the UK

Carers of people with dementia save the UK over £8 billion a year.

Identify

Do you identify on the patient’s records that they have dementia; this will often help when the carer is making an appointment on their behalf.

If the carer is a patient at your Practice do you identify them as a carer? Often carers have medical conditions related to being a carer.

  • Back problems due to lifting the patient.
  • Depression. Often due to isolation.
  • Not sleeping due to caring for the patient.
  • Other medical conditions

If medical issues are not identified it can often lead to the carer becoming unwell and the patient having to go into hospital or a nursing home.

Carers save the NHS a lot of money caring for people in their own home. Carers need the support to help them continue caring for their loved ones at home.

Yearly flu vaccinations are vital, if the carer has a bad attack of the flu the cared for person will often have to go into respite care.

Appointments

If a carer telephones for an appointment always try and accommodate them in a time or day that is suitable for them.

Carers will often accompany the person with dementia to the GP. The carer can often describe the symptoms or problems to the GP or Nurse. The carer can often remember afterwards what was said and provide the appropriate support.

Confidentiality

Sometimes people with dementia prefers to see their GP alone, or it may not be possible for anyone to go with them. If this is the case a family member may wish to talk to the GP afterwards. When a carer or relative contacts a GP with concerns about a person, the GP may decline discussion on the ground of breaking patient confidentiality.

The General Medical Council (GMC) has issued guidance on this matter (confidentiality 2009) The guidance states that doctors should listen to the concerns of carers, relatives, friends or neighbours because they may have valuable information that can help the patient. The GP should make it clear they may tell the patient about the conversation.

Respecting Cultural Values

Some patients might have cultural or religious background. If so it is important if these are identified that everyone at the Practice acts accordingly. These may include:

  • Religious observances, such as prayer and festivals
  • Touch or gestures that are considered disrespectful
  • Ways of undressing
  • Ways of dressing the hair
  • How the patient washes or uses the toilet

The person with dementia might not be able to explain about their culture so it is important that the carer informs the Receptionist or the Doctor before the appointment.

Training for Receptionists

It is important that your Receptionists are not only aware of patient needs but the needs of carers too.

By understanding any illness or disability it can often help when dealing with patients and their carers over the phone or at the front desk.

There are lots of organisations dealing with dementia that would be more than willing to come and talk to your receptionists and give them some insight into the life of someone suffering with dementia and that of the carer too.

Here are so do’s and don’ts of communication that might be useful for Receptionists.

Do

 

Don’t

Talk to the person in a tone of voice that conveys respect and dignity.

Talk to the person in “baby talk” or as if you were talking to a child.

Smile – this will help relax the person.

Don’t argue – the demented brain tells the person they can’t be wrong

Maintain eye contact by positioning yourself at the person’s eye level. Look directly at the person and ensure you speak clearly.

Glare at the person you are talking to. Always use good body language.

Use visual cues whenever possible.

Begin a task without explaining who you are or what you area about to do.

Be realistic in expectations.

Talk to the person without eye contact, such as while typing on the computer.

Observe and attempt to interpret the person’s non verbal communication.

Try and compete with a distracting environment; Loud noises, other people talking at the same time.

Use positive body language and a reassuring tone of voice.

Provoke a reaction through unrealistic expectations or by asking the person to do more than one task at a time.

Speak slowly and clearly

Disregard talk that may seem to be “rambling”

Encourage talk about things that they are familiar with

Shout or talk too fast.

Be kind – treat them, as you would want your family to be treated.

Interrupt unless it cannot be helped.

Keep your explanations short. Use clear and flexible language.

Invade their personal space if they are showing signs of fear or aggression.

 

Invade their personal space if they are showing signs of fear or aggression.

 

Use complicated words or phrases and long sentences.

Carers

Does your practice have a Carers Group? Such groups have proved to work extremely well in many surgeries.

I formed a Carers Group at my Surgery and the group would meet every 3 months, at lunchtime. Carers that were caring for people with all disabilities would come along for 2 hours to sit and chat. We would have different organisations attending the meetings on subjects that would help the carers in many different ways. We would have someone in from Social Services to talk about their entitlements. Someone in from Help and Care would come and help out, the local Fire Officer would come in and talk about safety in the home, and we would often have local businesses coming in to show support in many different ways.

But the most important part of these Carers Meetings were that the Carers had someone to talk to, people who understood what they were going through. Friendships were formed and often problems halved.

And finally……….

Each person with dementia is an individual with their own experiences of life, their own needs and feelings, their own likes and dislikes.

Dementia affects each person in a different way.

We all needs to feel valued and respected and it is important for a person with dementia to feel that they are still valued.

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© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved

Walk in my shoes – would you treat me any differently.


A moving short clip from you tube from Central Adelaide Local Health Network.

Any one of us could be one of the people in this film. We have and will be patients and loved ones at some point in our lives. Treat people with the respect they deserve.

 

To often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest art of caring all of which have the potential to turn a life around. 

Leo Buscaglia (1924 – 1998) 

 

 

 

Carers Group – Does Your Practice Have One


Beyond the Reception Desk

When I started at a surgery I was given the job of Carers Lead. Now back then I didn’t really know much about Carers – in fact to be honest I actually thought that all Carers were in fact paid workers  – those that  looked after people in their home or in a residential home.

How wrong was I? I soon became to realise that there were hundreds of unsung heroes within our practice looking after people day in and day for nothing – they purely did it out of love.

What is a definition of a Carer?

A carer is someone who without payment, provides help and support to a friend neighbour or relative who could not manage otherwise because of frailty, illness or disability including mental health problems and substance misuse.

Anyone can become a carer.

 Carers come from all walks of life, all cultures and can of any…

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“Please Turn Off Your Mobile Phones”


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I attended a meeting today, and a pretty important one too. The weather was hot and sunny outside and no there was air conditioning in the conference room. There was no water on the table for the participants to drink; there were at least 100 people in the room.

The meeting started, the chairperson pointed to the door that we could exit when we needed to use the toilet – but no instructions in the event of an emergency. To my knowledge there were at least two people with sight problems in the room, one of them blind.

She asked everyone to switch off his or her mobile phones. During the meeting at least two mobiles rang, obviously not switched off.

I sat around a table of 7 and at least 5 out of the 7 were constantly checking and using their mobile phones.

I sat and watched a woman updating her facebook and twitter page, and constantly texting throughout the whole meeting.

I looked around the room and seen several other people with their heads bowed down their hands down low grasping their mobile phones tapping away.

It was not a meeting that would require facebook updates or even a Twitter feed, but what it did show that people might have switched off their phones, but they were still using them.

I wonder how many of these people actually knew what went on in this meeting today.

 

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved

Dementia and the Carer #DementiaAwarenessWeek


 

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There are currently 800,000 people with dementia in the UK.

Over 17,000 are younger people with dementia and there will be over a million people with dementia in the UK by 2021.

I have witnessed dementia first hand. I had an uncle that suffered this awful illness it not only robbed him of his life but my Auntie lost the life she had shared with him for 60 years. She cared for him with love and dignity 24/7 until the day he died.

She was a proud woman whose pride wouldn’t let her ask for help. I feel the illness actually affected her more in so many ways than it did him.

Whist he lived in his own world, she would try to give him normality. He was extremely well looked after, always well fed, clothed and entertained – sadly he never remembered any of this, he struggled to remember most things. The days that he was like his old self sadly became fewer and fewer.

It was starting to take its toil on my Auntie. She had many sleepless nights when he would be up walking around the house looking for the cat that they didn’t have, shouting out the window at 2 am at the cows that were walking down the main road with the fireman behind them signing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, the smell of burning when he put a plastic bowl filled with water onto the electric cooker. The flooded kitchen when he left the hot tap running all night and the lovely flowers that he had planted with such love and care some years before ripped from the ground and tossed in a pile in the middle of the garden.

He would go from being calm and almost like his “old self” to being rude and aggressive. He could be hurtful in things he would say to her. On a couple of occasions he would have an outburst of violence and because of that she actually starting being afraid of him. She never knew what was coming next.

With my help we managed to get him a place in a day centre 2 days a week. I could see the relief in her eyes when this was sorted. She planned to use those days to have her hair done, take a long hot bath without fear he might be getting up to no good and shopping with her friend, the simple things of life that most of us take for granted. This all came to a crushing end when he point blank refused to go, he wanted to be at home with his Maureen. She gave in and the hairdressers and the shops were put on hold.

When they went out she had to get taxi’s. Travelling on buses was not an option anymore, he had caused too many scene. She used a local taxi company who understood her needs, but this all came at a cost she could ill afford.

I could go on, anyone that has ever known someone with dementia will understand that what I have said is just a tip of the iceberg. Those that have never come across a family devastated by this awful illness count yourself lucky, and I hope you never do.

She told me she got up to another bleak day ahead to find he had a temperature and was generally unwell, he couldn’t tell her what was wrong but she just knew as well as the dementia there was something else going on, he was more aggressive and he was not in the best of form. She phoned the surgery and asked for a visit, the surgery asked if she could come down, not being one to cause a fuss she took the appointment offered to her for 09.30.

She had to get my Uncle up from bed, bath him, help him dress and try and get him to take some breakfast, and then get him to the surgery for his appointment. It was one of those days that he really didn’t want to oblige. She recalled as they got to the surgery the waiting room was full. She struggled to keep him in one place. His voice raised at times getting a lot of attention from others in the waiting room. A couple of mothers gathered their children closer. He started to get aggressive and started shouting, and then he stood up in front of everyone and wet himself. My poor Auntie was mortified. She felt sick, she wanted the ground to open up and swallow her. She told me she went to the Reception Desk and was so relieved to find the “nice Receptionist” there. The Receptionist showed them into a side room and went and got the nurse.

The nurse suspected that he might have had a urine infection. That was the easy part; they then had to try and get him to do a sample. He wasn’t having any of it and didn’t cooperate one bit. Finally after a lot persuasion they got the sample and with a script my Auntie started her journey home having to face getting my wet uncle bathed and dressed again for the 2nd time that day and it wasn’t even 11.00.

I tried to support my Auntie as much as I could. There were times she would let her barrier down and really tell me how she felt. She told me she often felt very isolated and confessed that at times she resented my Uncle, with a tear in her eye she admitted that sometimes she would snap at him through sheer exhaustion and as she looked at that betrayed look in his eyes and she would be eaten up with guilt. She was tired, lonely and most of all she felt that she had already lost him, this beautiful, caring most gentle husband who would always go out of his way to help others who had fallen a victim to this horrible disease.

I don’t know how she coped. It was the sheer love for him that got her through those bleak dark days.

I tried to get her help, but she refused. She saw it as her duty to look after him without a thought for herself.

The support for the carer is every bit as important as it is for the patient. They are unsung heroes.

There are 670,000 carers of people with dementia in the UK and these carers of people with dementia save the UK over £8 billion a year.

Carers can be family, friends or paid workers. They will often accompany the person they are caring for to a Doctors appointment, be it at the Surgery or Hospital. It is important that people with dementia have regular check-ups and equally as important for the carer to have regular check-ups.

My Auntie often found it difficult to get appointments to fit in caring for her husband. Early morning or late evening appointments were the worse for her. My uncle would not get up until late morning and for her that gave her the chance of getting things done in the house, and if she woke him early it would often result in him having a bad day.

It is important that anyone caring for someone is giving consideration and understanding as their life is difficult enough.

 

Sadly my uncle died. She was eaten up with grief, asking herself could she have done more. Lost in the endless time she now faced. Friends had moved away, neighbours she didn’t know anymore.

She was suffering another loss for a second time.

 

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved