Wristbands the key to improving patient communication

Lincolnshire hospitals have introduced new Ask Me wristbands, which are aimed at helping staff to identify patients with sensory impairments so that their needs can be met more efficiently.

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The wristbands are being introduced following a discussion at a patient forum, where it was suggested that an ID bracelet would be a good way for staff to easily identify a patient who had a sight or hearing loss or impairment.

On admission if a patient is identified as having a particular additional need then they can be offered a wristband and a note should be made in the patient record and care plan.

Deputy Chief Nurse for ULHT, Jennie Negus, said: “Most of our patients come to us needing help and support, but many of them may have needs that aren’t always immediately evident.

“Whilst our nurses and doctors involved in day to day care will be aware of such needs, there are many of our staff and colleagues who ‘dip in and out’ of care and may not know; for example our phlebotomists, pharmacists, housekeepers, diagnostic staff and volunteers.

“The wristband band does not have any writing on, so it simply highlights there is a need for some extra help and we need to talk to our patients to understand what that help may be. For example it may be that a patient needs things a particular way at mealtimes and the housekeeper might not know; it may be that you lip read and the radiographer may not know that whilst you are having a scan.”

To begin with, the wristbands have been made available in emergency departments and admissions units at Lincoln County Hospital, Pilgrim Hospital in Boston and Grantham and District Hospital, and a spare supply made available in PALS offices.

If you are a patient and think this would be helpful, or you are a carer or relative of a patient and would like to have a wristband, then please speak to a member of staff or pop into PALS who will be able to help you.