Identification of needs

There is no requirement for a retrospective search or ‘trawl’ of records to identify patients with needs, although this would be considered good practice.

Communication and / or information needs MUST be identified at registration / upon first contact with the service or as soon as is practicable thereafter. These initial questions may be asked over the telephone, face-to-face at a reception desk, as part of a registration or admission form or through an alternative process.

The Standard has suggested questions which may be used to identify if an individual has any information and / or communication support needs, and the nature of these needs:

  • Do you have any communication needs?
  • Do you need a format other than standard print?
  • Do you have any special communication requirements?
  • How do you prefer to be contacted?
  • What is your preferred method of communication?
  • How would you like us to communicate with you?
  • Can you explain what support would be helpful?
  • What communication support should we provide for you?
  • What is the best way to send you information?

Specific additional or follow-up questions which it may be relevant to use as prompt or follow-up questions when communicating with particular individuals and / or in particular care settings are as follows:

  • Do you have difficulty hearing, or need hearing aids, or need to lip-read what people say?
  • Do you have difficulty with memory or ability to concentrate, learn or understand?
  • Do you have difficulty speaking or using language to communicate or make your needs known?

To ensure you explore all options during your conversation with the patient and effectively record the answers a detailed checklist this may be useful. It helps to separate information into ‘communication’ and ‘correspondence’ categories and to also consider flow both ways between you and the person. Here are some ideas on what to consider when communicating to somebody that is blind, deaf or deafblind.

It is expected that multiple categories will be selected for many individuals. Whatever the format used, communication and information needs MUST be recorded using the data items associated with the subsets defined by the Accessible Information Standard or their human readable definitions / categories.

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