Charities launch hearing loss guide for care homes
Caring Times, February 2013
Two Welsh charities have teamed up to launch a new guide for care home staff about working with residents who have hearing difficulties. Age Cymru’s My Home Life Cymru Programme and Action on Hearing Loss Cymru launched ‘Quality of life for residents with hearing loss’in January.
My Home Life Cymru’s Programme Manager John Moore says: “Hearing loss impacts on our own sense of self. “It affects communication – from social situations, to ones where we have to convey critical information, and this can lead to feelings of isolation and uncertainty.
“Depression is not uncommon among people with hearing loss and some may become resentful or angry as a symptom of a profound shift in their emotional wellbeing.
“Understanding this – and the other factors that impact on care home residents with hearing loss, is key to ensuring that staff are able to provide the care that each individual needs.
“This is why the Age Cymru My Home Life Cymru Programme has teamed up with Action on Hearing Loss Cymru to produce this guide to support staff working with residents who have hearing loss.”
The guide covers subjects including different types of hearing loss; the effects of hearing loss; how to identify hearing loss; and diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss. It also provides practical advice for staff to support residents who wear hearing aids, as Elin Wyn from Action on Hearing Loss Cymru explains: “While hearing aids may not be suited to everyone, many people who use hearing aids find that they improve their quality of life.
“It can take some time to adjust to wearing a hearing aid and it’s important that people get the support they need to make the most of hearing aids, including regular maintenance.
“Action on Hearing runs a hearing aid support scheme in ‘Hear to Help’, and our trained staff and volunteers can visit people living in registered care homes to provide support to residents and staff about hearing aid care.
“Working with the My Home Life Cymru to produce this publication has been a great opportunity for Action on Hearing Loss Cymru to help care home staff get a better understanding of the realities of life for people with hearing loss.”
Castle Court Care Home in Chepstow has also had a hand in writing the ‘Quality of life for residents with hearing loss’ guide. The guide features the story of Cheryl Merrony who is Castle Court’s ‘Hearing Aid Queen’. Cheryl, who lost a lot of her hearing when she was a young child, has worn hearing aids since she was four years old.
Says Cheryl: “We have so many residents here who have hearing loss – around three quarters of them have hearing aids, and because I understand what it’s like when you have problems, I decided to look after them myself.
“Every day I check with the residents that their hearing aids are switched on properly, batteries are working and that there’s no whistling of any blockages in the tubes.
“If I’ve been off for a couple of days, when I’m back the first thing the residents ask is ‘Where’s Cheryl? Can she have a look at my hearing aid?’.”
– ‘Quality of life for residents with hearing loss’ is the latest in a series of training guides for care home staff that have been published by the My Home Life Cymru programme.