Focusing on The Patient
A patient centred approach to audiology has been the buzz word in audiology practices; at Audi-lab having researched the philosophy behind it, we are happy that this approach is fundamentally the ethos of our clinic and pretty much always has been. We have always believed in the patient being at the centre of their hearing journey and that each person should be seen as an individual, assessing their individual needs and requirements and find a hearing solution to suit them. I was however interested to read an article published in ENT and Audiology News (a prestigious Audiological Journal), Written from a patient’s point of view which highlighted 5 simple steps towards a patient centred approach, which you would feel, is partially common sense.
Focusing on the needs of the hearing aid user
A welcoming environment, which is absolutely essential as often it’s the person’s first point of contact in addressing their difficulty and they can be quite anxious. We have always taken care to ensure our customers feel welcomed. We believe that not only is it important but also one of the main reasons that they come back to us time and again.
Providing additional information and support, again very important not everybody may need a hearing aid they may require other assistive devices.
Put in writing, again people never retain all the information given at an appointment.
Stay current on scientific research, as professionals this should be a given.
The last point was explaining the risks associated with untreated hearing loss in particular the link between hearing loss and dementia, this is where I struggled. Often being the first person to conduct a full audiological assessment, yes, I explain how their difficulty is affecting the person in everyday situations and how the brain is a wonderful organ that tries to compensate, however, I have been reluctant and very cautious to mention the link between dementia and untreated hearing loss, as I never want to scare a person into addressing their problem. This article has given me a reason to question my feelings on what it truly means to have the patient’s welfare at the centre of the consultation.