SELF ADVOCACY FOR HOSPITAL SAFETY

SELF ADVOCACY is the key to navigating the hospital setting or any medical situation you may encounter.  Always tell the doctors, nurses and medical staff that you are hard of hearing. Continue to tell each person that you have hearing loss if you are unable to discern the words they are saying to you. If possible, visit the hospital ahead of time to inquire about what accommodations they have for people with hearing loss.

HOW TO ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF WHILE HOSPITALIZED:

  • When a medical person enters your room they ask you, “What is your name?” and “What is your date of birth?” Respond with your name, date of birth and say, “I am Hard of Hearing”

  • Wear your hearing aids or cochlear implant processor and make sure they are working properly. Bring extra batteries.

  • Ask that your chart reflect the fact that you are hard of hearing

  • Face the speaker and ask the speaker to please face you.

  • Ask the speaker to slow down, speak in a low voice.  LOW AND SLOW.

  • Ask that a sign be placed on your door and above your bed reminding staff that you are Hard of Hearing. Remember: you have the right to waive your HIPPA requirement of privacy.

  • If you do not understand what is said, ask for repetition or clarification

  • Remind the speaker that you are Hard of Hearing.  BE ASSERTIVE.

  • If you miss part of the message, repeat the part you did hear and then say “please repeat what you said” instead of “What?”

  • Wear your eyeglasses (if appropriate) so that you can see the face/lips of the speaker.

  • Ask that paper and pencil be placed near your bed. If you are having difficulty hearing a certain speaker, ask the speaker to write it on the paper.

  • If you are asked to use the telephone to order food or talk with your doctor, explain that you are Hard of Hearing and cannot hear on the telephone. You can ask the nurse to request the party on the telephone to come and speak with you in person, or ask the nurse to speak on your behalf.  ASK FOR HELP WITH THE TELEPHONE

  • The words, “please” and “thank you” go a long way.

  • For your safety you NEED to understand the words that are spoken to you.

It is DANGEROUS to bluff.

GUIDE FOR EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION IN HEALTH CARE FORM AND COMMUNICATION ACCESS PLAN (CAP):

https://www.hearingloss.org/hearing-help/communities/patients/