575,500 people in Wales are deaf or have hearing loss, 100,000 people in Wales are living with sight loss that has a significant impact on their daily lives – and around 18,850 people in Wales are affected by a combination of sight and hearing loss, known as dual sensory loss or deafblindness.
Between 2014-2017 we teamed up with RNIB Cymru in a project to find out more about the personal experiences of people who are deaf, blind or deafblind when they attempt to access three public services:
- social services and
- health services, specifically GP surgeries.
To do this we held focus groups throughout Wales, where we encouraged people with sensory loss to share their experiences. We then passed these stories to housing providers, social services and local health boards: they could not be ignored.
We followed this up by incorporating these powerful, individual experiences into a number of documents, which we also shared with relevant service providers:
- Supporting people with sensory loss; Best Practice guide for housing providers, (Download in English / Download in Welsh)
- Supporting people with sensory loss; Guide for social service professionals, (Download in English / Download in Welsh)
- Understanding Your Patient’s Needs – Best Practice for GP surgeries (Download in English / Download in Welsh) and
- Communication toolkit for frontline staff (Download in English / Download in Welsh)
As the project came to an end, 88% of the people involved said they felt their voices were heard by the service provider.
And 100% of the organisations involved said the information they received was useful in shaping future services.