The Accessible Information Standard became Law in 2016 and as a Trust we have worked hard to ensure that staff are equipped with the tools and resources that they need to successfully meet the varied needs of our service users and carers.
What is the Accessible Information Standard?
The Accessible Information Standard was published by NHS England in July 2015. The Standard applies to all NHS and publically funded adult social care providers and ensures that all service users and carers are provided with information that they can access and understand, and supported to communicate effectively.
Who does the Standard apply to?
The Standard applies to any service user or carer who requires accessible information and/or communication support due to disability (including learning disability), communication impairment or sensory loss.
The Standard does not apply to foreign language needs, nor a preference for a particular information format.
What is accessible information?
Accessible information is information which is able to be read, received and understood by the individual or group for which it is intended. For people with an accessible information need, information is provided in an alternative to Standard printed or handwritten English, for example large print, braille or email.
What is communication support?
Communication support is the support that a service user or carer needs to effective, and accurately communicate with a staff member. This may mean the use of aids or equipment or by staff making adjustments to their behaviour to enable effective communication. Where appropriate, there may be involvement of communication professionals such as British Sign Language interpreters and deafblind manual interpreters.
What does the Standard mean for Trust service users and their carers?
Service users and carers will be asked two questions at the point of initial contact with Trust services, to determine whether they have any accessible information or communication support needs. If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then four more questions will be asked about the details of those needs. This will be recorded in the service users clinical record. From this point, staff responsible for providing their care will provide accessible information and communication support, in order to meet those identified needs.
Key Trust activities to meet the requirements of the Standard
A range of solutions are available to Trust staff to support them in assessing and responding to the accessible information and/or communication support needs of our service users and carers, including:
- A dedicated Accessible Information Standard intranet page for staff to access guidance, learning tools, easy read templates/information and other resources.
- An assessment tool to identify accessible information and communication needs.
- Dedicated templates to record accessible information and communication needs within service users’ clinical records.
- Specialist equipment to meet accessible information and communication needs.
- A range of patient information resources in accessible formats such as easy read.
- A suite of training materials to support staff to provide communication support.
- Website accessibility tools such as BrowseAloud and text size adjustability.
For more information about the Accessible Information Standard, visit NHS England’s webpage dedicated to the Standard: https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/accessibleinfo/.