Communicating with hard of hearing patient can be so difficult and often results in staff ‘shouting’ at patients in a busy ward setting, sometimes regarding personal and sensitive medical matters.
"There was no privacy", "I had to raise my voice", were some of the comments by the nurses.
Now, we don’t have to raise your voice or shout into the patient’s ear anymore! Enter the Pocket-Talker!
When did you start this programme, and which patients may benefit?
The program started from April 2021. It can benefit any patient who has difficulty hearing, or when their hearing aids are not working properly.
Using a sound amplifier sounds very remote and foreign. Who came up with it?
Ms Foo Lee Lian, Assistant Director of Nursing, National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) noticed that the nurses are raising their voices and shouting into the patient’s ear as they are hard of hearing during her posting in SNEC. She shared with us that her elderly mother who is hard of hearing is using a device called the Pocket-Talk which is a sound amplifier.
The head phone can place over the patient’s ear, and the volume according to patient’s hearing capacity as you speak over the microphone attached. One thing wonderful is that it could be placed over patient’s own hearing aide, and help reduces background or ambient noises.
So how did you familiarize the staff to the device?
Firstly, we introduced the staff to our new “toy” and explained when and how it is used. The device is then left near the work station, so that it is easily available and accessible. It was very simple to teach staff to use the device, and both the staff and patient found it very user-friendly.
What was the response from the staff and patient?
The staff valued being able to provide the patients with more privacy during the pre-operative assessment period and not having to shout or raise their voices. They were able to gather more accurate information and provide essential post-operative instructions to patient without fear that the patient might have misheard them.
Many patient and their caregivers were amazed that their elderly could hear clearly even better than their own hearing aid and wanted to get the device for themselves!
Are there any concern with regards infection control?
This was also a concern for staff, and we have ensured that the set be properly wiped down with Isopropyl Alcohol 70% after each use, and stored in a clean container.
Are there plans to spread the use of the “Pocket-Talker”?
Currently, the device will follow the patient through to the operating theatre so that the operating staff can continue communicate effectively with the patient. The pharmacists can also use it during dispensing of medications to patient.
Moving forward, we hope to extend its use to Outpatient Clinics and Operating Theatres.
Watch this video on the device to find out more:Internet access required
Staff Nurse Chan Sze Lin Nursing (Day Ward) Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC)
Staff Nurse Linnett Lim Jia Yan Nursing (Day Ward) Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC)
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