Lamb lends support to Deaf Aware quality mark
Caring Times, April 2014
Care services minister Norman Lamb has pledged to support and promote a new Deaf-Aware Care quality mark for residential care homes launched by RAD and [sonus], two national charities that support Deaf people.
At a packed meeting at the House of Commons in early March, Mr Lamb said, “I give you a complete assurance that I will do anything I can to support and promote the quality mark within the system.”
Jan Sheldon, chief executive of RAD, said, “We hugely welcome Norman Lamb’s support for making mainstream residential care homes good places for Deaf people who depend on British Sign Language (BSL) to communicate.”
Liz Jones, chief executive of [sonus], said, “Life in most residential homes can be terrible for Deaf BSL users, who often become isolated and withdrawn. The more homes that achieve the Deaf-Aware Care quality mark, the better Deaf people’s lives will be.”
The meeting also launched a new study by Manchester University into social care for older Deaf people. Roger Beeson, joint chair of RAD and [sonus], said this confirmed that older Deaf people who depend on BSL were receiving inadequate residential care because their cultural and communication needs were ignored. Mr Beeson asked commissioners to look for the Deaf-Aware Care quality mark when commissioning services for older Deaf people, and said RAD and [sonus] were discussing with the Care Quality Commission how the quality mark might play a part in ratings for adult social care.
Eighty-eight-year old Leslie Key told the meeting about how difficult residential care was for him and his wife Betty, who are Deaf and communicate in BSL. Mr Key said, “Living in a care home would be so much easier if there were other Deaf residents, if there were Deaf carers, if the staff were more Deaf aware. When you cannot communicate with anybody because nobody uses or understands sign language or what it is like to be Deaf then believe me that’s hell.”
Leslie explained that, when Betty had to move into residential care following a stroke, he had had to give up his freedom to move in with her as otherwise she would have been the only Deaf resident and life would have been impossible. Norman Lamb also said that the new Care Bill would help by placing a duty on local authorities to give residents information on the care available, and that the NHS Choices website could be used to list homes that achieve the Deaf-Aware Care quality mark.
To help homes achieve the Deaf-Aware Care quality mark, RAD and [sonus] will provide training and support around accessibility, engagement, British Sign Language (BSL) and recruitment.