Unheard voices: patients’ with communication disability

Dr Robyn O’Halloran1, Dr  Robyn O’Halloran2, Dr  Madeline Cruice3, Ms  Kathryn  McKinley1, Ms Beth Turnbull1

1St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, 2La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia, 3City University, London, England

  • Aims:
  1. To determine if people with communication disability can report on their patient experience using the Victorian Healthcare Experience Survey (VHES).
  2. To identify aspects of the VHES that may prevent people with communication disability from reporting on their patient experience.
  • Method:

This research used a qualitative methodology. Eight patients identified as having a communication disability in hospital participated in this study. After discharge, each participant was videorecorded completing the written VHES. Two experienced speech pathologists independently observed the videos and recorded when participants experienced difficulty completing the survey and identified any aspects of the survey form that may have caused the difficulty. Then, the two observers discussed their findings and generated a comprehensive list of potential difficulties with the VHES for people with communication disability.

  • Results:

The majority of participants experienced difficulty completing the VHES. The aspects of the survey that made it difficult for people with communication disability to report on their patient experience will be described. This research will provide the evidence base needed to develop a more accessible patient experience survey for people with communication disability.

  • Significance of the findings to allied health:

Allied health practitioners provide care to many patients with communication disability. Accurate information about the patient experience of people with communication disability is needed so that they can provide responsive, safe, high quality, patient centred care to this vulnerable group of patients.