I spent most of the day hanging around Mass General Hospital today while a family member had surgery. During these many hours I spent some quality time pondering the imponderable. Why do the Hard of Hearing have so much trouble with service providers, particularly medical personnel?
On the one hand, I can go to NVH and everyone I run into there knows how to relate to a hard of hearing person. But…they have an Interpreter for the Deaf on staff – and are proud of it! They do their best to offer assistance promptly and efficiently. MVH on the other hand seems to have no idea how to relate to someone with a hearing problem. I mean clueless – totally.
When an ENT and their office staff members are equally clueless I am both baffled at the lack of competence (lets call it what it is) and frustrated by the lack of response.
So what’s the difference between MVH where no one knows what to do and NVH – a tiny, isolated, HoH and Deaf friendly hospital? What gives? It can’t be corporate philosophy as they’re both owned by the same mega-chain.
I kept kicking the can down the street mentally and came back to the concept of AWARENESS. Good old being in the moment awareness. And how do you become aware – even in the Buddhist sense of learning to be in the moment? Training followed up with practice.
Not a handout no one reads, but pervasive institutional training. Someone at NVH took the time to make it a HoH and Deaf friendly facility. Training and practice. You can’t learn anything without training of some sort and some kind of practice in using the training.
It isn’t about hearing Not everyone can nor should get a CI. It is about communication. And to be able to communicate with anyone you have to be aware of communication styles. Without adequate training and practice – or some positive exposure to the HoH or Deaf – you have folks who are blissfully unaware that they are inadequately serving clientele.
It is why I’ve literally told more than one doctor: “You are not competent to serve this patient” when I’ve acted as a patient advocate. It is why I don’t hesitate to pull the plug on an incompetent provider who is unwilling to learn.
So, having had this “awakening,” I’m at the hospital making notes on my trusty iPhone.
Tonight I started a Google document presentation. It’s in rough draft and it’s out of order. It’s something I can put up on the web and make accessible to the world. I might reach out to some terp type folk I know. Gotta start somewhere.
Then I plan on creating a neat, tight little document in big type that can be printed and handed out to providers who take our hard-earned money and give bloodily little back in return regarding communication. Something with just a few easy points – because they aren’t going to read much – and nicely phrased to be informative and non-confrontational.
Not everyone is as
obnoxious confrontational aggressive assertive as I am, so a handout needs to be short and sweet.