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Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) is marking ‘It Makes Sense’ Sensory Loss Awareness Month this November.

People in Wales who are deaf, have hearing loss, are blind or partially sighted are being urged to tell doctors and nurses about their communication needs when they go to hospital or the GP.

BCUHB has teamed up with other Health Boards and charities in the campaign to raise awareness of the rights of patients when being treated in hospitals, GP surgeries and other healthcare services.

More than 600,000 people in Wales have sight or hearing loss, which means that in any hospital or GP waiting room, around one in four people are likely to have some form of sensory loss. What’s more patients can face significant barriers such as, missing appointments because they have been unable to read appointment letters; not hearing their name being called in waiting areas and leaving consultations not fully understanding what has been said.

However, BCUHB is already leading the way in addressing these issues having become the first Health Board in Wales to develop its very own Sensory Loss Toolkit. It contains practical advice for staff and valuable tools such as communication cards for patients as well as personal listening devices at the bedside.

The award-winning Toolkit is available in all wards and is now being adapted for use by district teams who see patients in the community.

During the ‘It Makes Sense’ campaign people affected by Sensory Loss are being asked to Tell healthcare professionals how they prefer to communicate; Ask to receive information in the format they prefer and Share their concerns if they don’t receive this.

In turn our staff are being encouraged to Find out the best ways to communicate with those with Sensory Loss; Ask patients how they would like to communicate and Offer to give information in an individual’s preferred format.

To find out more about the It Makes Sense campaign visit www.equalityhumanrights.wales.nhs.uk