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The Accessible Information Standard
On 24th June 2015, the new ‘Accessible Information Standard’ was approved. This means that all organisations that provide NHS or adult social care must follow the accessible information standard by law.
The Accessible Information Standard directs and defines a specific, consistent approach to identifying, recording, flagging, sharing and meeting the information and communication support needs of patients, service users, carers and parents where those needs relate to a disability, impairment or sensory loss.
It is of particular relevance to individuals who are blind, partially blind, deaf or partially deaf or deafblind, and/or who have a learning disability, although it will support anyone with information or communication needs relating to a disability, impairment or sensory loss, for example people who have aphasia or a mental health condition which affects their ability to communicate.
The Standard applies to service providers across the NHS and adult social care system, and it specifically aims to improve the quality and safety of care received by individuals with information and communication needs, and their ability to be involved in autonomous decision-making about their health, care and well-being.
What does the accessible information standard require health and social care organisations to do?
As part of the accessible information standard, organisations that provide NHS or adult social care must do five specific things.
- Ask people if they have any information or communication needs, and find out how to meet their needs
- This should happen from the point of referral and be detailed during their stay in hospital by carrying out a full patient lifestyle assessment
- Record those needs clearly and in a standard way
- This should all be recorded electronically
3.. Highlight or flag the person’s file or notes so it is clear that they have information or communication needs and how to meet those needs
- This alert will be entered onto the notes and will be visible by every person entering care for that patient
- Share information about people’s information and communication needs with other providers of NHS and adult social care, when they have consent or permission to do so
- If the information is entered and shared than the patient will always be included in their care because they have been communicated/informed/supported in the correct way
- Take steps to ensure that people receive information which they can access and understand, and receive communication support if they need it
- Ensure that the patients needs are met, either by translation services and/or specifically published material
These five things need to be able to be demonstrated as ‘embedded’ in practice within each service provider. They also need to be auditable/able to be monitored.
Where are we now?
- We have a policy that is written and ready to be published
- We have held focus groups to inform our practice, attended by service users
- We have an electronic package, written and ready to build within Wirral Millennium
- We have undertaken a gap analysis to identify all equipment and tools already utilised within the organisation, and to determine what we still require, to support compliance with the standard
What we are working towards?
- We need to go live with the electronic package in Wirral Millenium
- Introduce the programme to our staff and provide education and advice
- Monitor and audit service provision to ensure compliance, and completion of information
- Work with community service providers and service users to ensure that information is transferrable within patient records
To access 'Your Rights Under The Accessible Information Standard' leaflet please click on this link