Disability Awareness #Receptionists Training


imagesCAGOAY5Y

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
Advertisements

Changing Times


I was chatting to a friend the other day and we were reminiscing about the “old days” and what our memories were as a child and how things have changed especially in our line of work over the years.

Mine was visiting my doctor as a child and just how things have changes so much over the years.

As a child I remember going into this great big house, (as a child I would have described this as a mansion) which was the Doctors Surgery, and where she lived. I can still remember so many details of that house, the grounds the house stood on, the big sweeping driveway that you drove in one way and out the other, the ivy climbing the walls and the great big red door to the main house – I always wondered what was beyond that door (this was the main entrance to the big house)

The Surgery entrance was at the side of the house, a smaller less obvious door and was black in colour. We would walk through the door and straight into the small waiting room – the receptionist sat in the same room behind a desk with one cabinet that held the notes.

Just one Doctor and one Receptionist, not even a nurse.

No fax machines, no computers, no scanners just a desk, a telephone with one line and one filing cabinet.

I used to think the receptionist was a nurse as she wore a white  coat. Confidentiality was unheard of as the receptionist discussed ailments with the patients and many personal details given at the desk for all to hear. Everyone would hang on to her every word as she spoke to patients on the telephone – often speaking names, addresses and ailments – no confidentiality at all – yet it seems to be accepted.

No radio or telly playing the background, no toys for the children to play with just a room with chairs and the reception desk.

I remember later on in years I went into that same reception area and as I approached the desk the receptionist looked up, beamed and said congratulations on your pregnancy – the room was full of people, and people in there that I knew but the worse for me was I wasn’t actually pregnant, she had in fact got me mixed up with another patient. It never entered my head to complain, to me a mistake was made and she was truly sorry when she realised her mistake. I wonder how that would have been handled these days?

We would then get called through to see the Doctor – as a child I was always in awe of her – she was old (or old to me as a child) but the one thing that enticed me into her room was the great big jar of jelly babies that sat proudly on her desk – if I was good I would always get a jelly baby before we left her room. I remember once actually getting 2 – I cannot remember if this was by mistake or if I had been particularly good.

The room was grand, it had big French doors opening onto a big garden, which would be wide open in the summer and in the winter months she would have a big open fire blazing away, not a fire guard in sight and her much-loved sheep dog would be lying in front of it. No Health and Safety issues back in those days.

There were no disabled access for patients in wheelchairs or any aids for people with special needs.

Training for patient care was basic yet then sufficient. Training for general practice was in its infancy.

Years rolled on and practices expanded and the new receptionist fared only slightly better. Often “sitting with Mavis” was accepted, the only method of training new staff. “Mavis” would tell the new receptionist what to do, showed her how to do it, and after a couple of weeks left her to discover the rest for herself.

The title of Practice Manager was practically unknown; staff were expected to learn fast, no doubt acquiring good habits as well as bad. The knowledge and skills for the role as the receptionist were picked up by trial and error, and some very inappropriate attitudes were acquired along the way.

Over the years the importance of general practice within the health service increased in leaps and bounds.

Practices grew in numbers; multi disciplinary teams worked under the same roof, the Practice Managers became an extremely important part of the Practice. Larger Practices would have a whole management team run what now has gone from a one-doctor practice into a Practice that could have many doctors’ nurses and numerous other healthcare professionals working together with one aim – Patient Care.

Patient care, confidentiality and health and safety became a vital part of our working day.

However, sadly, until recently, the methods of training Receptionists within some organisations have failed to keep pace.

It is now generally accepted that quality of care and job satisfaction go hand in hand. Staff need to know not only what they are doing but also why they are doing it – “sitting with Mavis” is just not acceptable anymore.

Receptionists must understand their role and how their individual job contributes to the care of the patients and the smooth running of the whole practice.

Receptionists need not only to be trained but also to continue their education and personal development in order to keep up to date with an “ever changing role.”

Training Reception Staff

  • Initial assessment should be part of the selection process before employment.
  • What knowledge and skills does the applicant have as a result of past experience?
  • Is the applicant flexible to fit in with the team?
  • Are the applicants knowledge and skills appropriate, and, if not, can they be modified by training and experience?

Training Programmes

Planning Receptionist training must take account information about the following:

  • What the Practice believes that their Receptionists need in order to improve performances and satisfaction in their daily work.
  • What new skills and knowledge the Receptionist needs to gain in order to cope with change.
  • What the Receptionists themselves feels they need/would like to learn in order to expand their skills.

Has your Practice moved with the times? Do you support your Receptionists with training?

 

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved

Receptionist Training: Disability Awareness and their Signs


These are signs that you should have placed around your Surgery or place of work. Familiarise yourself with them and what they mean. REMEMBER they are to help people with a disability and should not be used or abused by able-bodied people.

                                                                  KNOW WHAT THEY MEAN!

There are many different signs that you can used. They come in many sizes and colours – but the most important thing is that the person that the sign is intended for is easily seen and placed in the appropriate places.

Here are the some of the  favored signs that you will see in all public areas.

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS

This sign can be displayed in several places, from the main Reception area to the disabled toilets.

HEARING LOOP 

This lets visitors/patients know that your company have a hearing loop on the premises. Make sure you know where it is kept and how to operate it. This should be checked on a regular basis to ensure it is working   correctly.

IMPAIRED VISION

If a visitor/patient has a sight problem and identifies this please inform the person that they are going in to see so they are aware.   Ask if they need assistance – especially when it comes to filling out any forms. If your company has a website does it have a facility for larger print for the visually impaired?

GUIDE DOGS WELCOME

Only guide dogs are allowed into a Surgery. Try not to district the guide dog or allow people to crowd around the dog or the patient.

DISABLED PARKING ONLY

Your Surgery should have designated parking spaces for disabled people. These spaces must be for these people alone.

DISABLED RAMP

If your place of work has steps you should have a ramp for wheelchair users, and others that would find using steps difficult such as the elderly or people with pushchairs. Ensure that you have a sign displayed clearly.

SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETATION

You will usually find these signs in larger buildings such as hospital or Government buildings.

Some Health Authorities run courses on basis sign language for Doctors Receptionists to attend.

 

 

Important: A disability is not always visual.