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Patients with disabilities to be invited to join Sunflower scheme

Date: 13 October 2021

Time: 09:00

 

Patients with disabilities admitted to two intermediate care units (ICUs) are to be invited to take part in an SCFT pilot project designed to improve care. 

They will be asked to take part in an initiative based on the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard scheme after it is introduced at Leslie Smith ward – part of Bognor Regis Memorial Hospital – on 15 October and at Crowborough War Memorial Hospital ICU on 26 October. 

Adopted across the UK and widely recognised by the NHS, the sunflower lanyard is designed to act as a discreet sign that the wearer has a hidden disability and needs additional help. 

The Trust has already implemented the scheme across its COVID-19 vaccination centres for the public, and SCFT’s Disability and Wellbeing Network has rolled it out for staff. 

The Trust’s Patient Safety team now believes that offering a similar scheme to patients at their ‘welcome meetings’ – admission to wards - at the two ICUs is the next step in raising awareness. 

Patients will first be asked if they have a disability and would like to take part in the scheme. Those who agree will then be given a green wristband decorated with sunflowers. 

Staff on the two wards will complete hidden disabilities training and will then wear a hidden disabilities sunflower badge to remind them to think about how they communicate with, and offer support to, patients wearing wristbands. 

Thomas Buckley, SCFT’s Patient Safety Lead, said: “By asking powerful but simple questions the pilot project aims to lessen stigma and empower patients with hidden disabilities to share their care needs and identify where they may need help. 

“Our nursing and therapy staff will also be able to ensure equipment which will support the patients’ recovery is put in place. 

“Hopefully, the pilot will highlight the ways we communicate with others and help us all take more time to listen to others, plan care with patients in mind, ask patients’ relatives for help, and reflect with our colleagues.” 

The Trust’s Patient Experience team will adapt the Patient Feedback Form to allow patients to highlight their experiences of the scheme. 

The pilot will be reviewed at the end of January and, if successful, will be rolled out across the Trust.