The charity Action on Hearing Loss has rolled out a new project in mainstream care homes across the North of England designed to improve the care and support provided to older people with hearing loss and reduce social isolation.
With 71% of over-70-year-olds living with hearing loss in the UK, the project titled ‘Hear to Care’ will pilot and test out changes or improvements which can be made in mainstream longer term care settings to improve the diagnosis and management of hearing loss. As hearing loss is a 24/7 condition, Action on Hearing Loss staff will work with care workers to ensure that managing hearing loss becomes part of the daily routine of the home, helping to combat social isolation which sensory loss can often cause.
At the end of the three year project, guidance and a toolkit will be produced and made available to mainstream care providers across England. Learnings will also be shared with the Care Quality Commission and other key health and social care organisations to promote best practice.
Development Projects Manager at Action on Hearing Loss, Sarah Treadwell-Baker, said: “We are delighted to be working directly within care settings to ensure that all residents are getting the best support to manage their hearing loss. Whether it is through screening residents to see whether they need hearing aids, providing assistive equipment such as listening devices or offering basic maintenance like re-tubing and replacement batteries to existing NHS hearing aid users, we hope to make a real difference to their quality of life.
“We want to make dealing with hearing loss a priority in care home settings to ensure that residents feel confident in communicating and socialising with their peers and continue to enjoy life at the home.”
Funding for the scheme was provided by the Department of Health’s Innovation Fund following research undertaken by the charity which found that if the hearing loss of those in care homes is managed effectively, there is a real chance of improving quality of life.
For more information on the Hear to Care project, contact Sarah Treadwell-Baker, Development Projects Manager, on Sarah.Treadwell-Baker@hearingloss.org.uk or 0121 450 8980.