DeafBlind tips #7: Hospital communication by Heather Lawson

Before my surgery last year I thought to try and created of the communication between me and nurses at the hospital. You know Sometimes interpreters or Commguide are not available to support.

I typed up a short instruction and is laminated in size A4 paper then typed on words in braille.

see photo of my original template saying, “I can read braille”. I may point which words to show you what I need. You can hold my pointer finger and touch any braille word for me to read. the words under the instruction are – hello, drink, see you later, food, how are you, good, bad, feel hot, feel cold, toilet, pain, comfortable, not comfortable.

See other photos of a bright yellow sign. This yellow with large black print sign is to pin on the wall near the hospital bed for better attention because most in the wards the walls are white. Something for a contrast to be easily seen.

The yellow sign on the top of A4 paper in big block and bold saying ‘I AM DEAFBLIND’ The next lines says, ‘Please tap my shoulder few times this lets me know you are here and want to talk to me. Please write words slowly on my palm hand with your finger in big capital letters. I can write on paper with my pen for you to read.’

From my experiences, I enjoyed communicating with friendly nurses which made me feel good. Also, I had the notebook with a pen for some specific information, I had to write notes for them to read.

I remember a bit after my surgery in the recovery room A nurse woke me up. I was drowsy while Nurse held my finger to the braille word ‘How are you’ I read and signed “thumb up’. After our short conversation, I was surprised that a nurse hugged me. Something that she was proud to talk to me herself.

I received some feedback from nurses, they liked the idea of communication template. They suggested me to add some more words. I will improve this system, but it is really up to deafblind persons to create to meet their own communication needs.