Organising health appointments and communicating with health professionals when you have a sensory loss can be a daunting experience and sometimes practically impossible if you are a first language BSL user. The feeling of uncertainty of how best to communicate and how to provide sensory loss patients with accessible information is something that most, if not all, health professionals will experience on a regular basis.
Here at COS we understand these issues and the needs of both the patient with sensory loss and the health professional Our Accessible Health Service Team can act as the enabling link between them.
If a person is feeling ill and needs an appointment with their GP they can contact us by phone, text message, email, Glide, WhatsApp, Skype or FaceTime, or face to face in our office or at one of our drop in sessions, to ask us to phone and make that appointment for them. When we phone we will ask for the appointment and remind the GP staff that they need to book an interpreter via WITS. We will then reply to the person and let them know the date and time of their appointment.
If later the patient needs to check that an interpreter has been booked, they can contact us again and we will check with the GP that this has been done.
It could be that a person has received a letter from the hospital but they are not sure what it is asking them to do. Then they can either come and see us, take a photo of the letter and send it to us to translate, or they can video call us and get a live translation. If the letter is asking them to contact to make the appointment, we can do that there and then and we will remind the health professional that they need to book an interpreter.
It may be that the person has an interpreter that they feel comfortable and confident with. If they tell us when we are booking the appointment, we will tell the Health Professional and ask them to inform WITS. This means that when you arrive at your appointment the interpreter will be there.
Sometimes though, it is difficult to book an interpreter, especially if WITS don’t have enough time. In this case, and if it is appropriate, you could book a DAISY interpreter.
If want to discuss the Accessible Health Service you can contact us for more information.
If you are Deaf and would like to know more you watch this video made specifically for Deaf BSL users.