Blackpool Emergency Department introduces disability friendly scheme

Sophie Jones with the Disability Daisy posters

THE Emergency Department at Blackpool Victoria Hospital has introduced a new idea to support and identify patients with learning disabilities.

The new scheme is called Disability Daisy and the idea is for patients who have learning difficulties to feel comfortable knowing their additional needs are being recognised and taken care of.

Sophie Jones, an Emergency Department Assistant, came up with the idea.

She said: “I have a close connection to helping people to learning difficulties because my niece has been in hospital quite a few times and she struggles with communication and how to express herself.

“I wanted to try and put something in place to make life easier for patients who are in a similar situation to my niece.

“The idea came from something that Gatwick Airport have for people who have learning disabilities. They wear a lanyard with a daisy on so staff working at the airport can identify the person will need more help.

“People often some into hospital who can have hidden disabilities. This can range from ADHD, autism, Down’s Syndrome and cerebral palsy.

“I wanted to do something similar in the Emergency Department because I feel there is more we can do to support these people or to alert our staff.

“This has been running for a couple of weeks but we have already seen improvements being made.

“Staff are very supportive and they have all been trained on what the daisy represents. We communicate to staff by using daisy stickers in the patient notes and also on whiteboards.

“We use the dementia butterfly as an image to alert staff that a patient has dementia so this is quite similar.

“Patients can now be put in areas that aren’t as busy as we know coming to the Emergency Department can be scary and very distressing, especially with people who have autism. This is really important because patients may not always tell you if they have learning difficulties.

“I want all areas of the hospital to be aware of the Disability Daisy scheme so when a patient is transferred to a ward or a clinic they recognise the Daisy in the notes and know straight away that this patient has learning / hidden disabilities and may require further support.

“I understand there are also patients with learning difficulties that are more than capable of making their own decisions about their care and should be encouraged to do so. But the patients that can’t I want them and their loved ones to know that we are aware of their learning difficulties and we are there for any further assistance and support they may need while in hospital.

“I’m really proud of introducing this new idea into practice and we want to make the experience for our patients the best it can be.”

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