Improving the Experience of Health Care for People Living with Sensory Disability
Knowing What is Going On
Author(s): Annmaree Watharow
Stories of people living with sensory disability in health care settings, the challenges faced, and the negative impact of a lack of effective communication
Collection: Disability Studies
ISBN 9781915271426
 Publication Date
  Pages 298





How does a patient with sensory disability – such as a hearing or vision impairment, or both – get effective communication from a health care provider?

Too often, the answer is that they don’t. Communication is crucial for any professional–patient relationship, not least when disability is in the mix. For people living with sensory disability, however, the challenge of knowing what is going on with their healthcare, participating in shared decision making, and retaining an appropriate level of agency, is even greater. Using verbatim testimony from people with first-hand experience of sensory disability, this book explores issues such as accessibility barriers in consent forms, patient information sheets and other paperwork; situational vulnerability to abuse and neglect; and dehumanisation, infantilisation, and disempowerment in care.

Written by Dr Annmaree Watharow MD PhD, a doctor and author with personal experience of sensory disability, the stories in this book are told using people’s own words, to allow readers to hear directly from the people who most need their own agency. Vital reading for doctors, nurses, health care providers, and social support workers in practice and training, this book will change the way you view sensory disability.

Chapter 1: Miscommunication and pain
Chapter 2: The undeniable importance of communication
Chapter 3: Who are we?
Chapter 4: Health threats
Chapter 5: The triple burden of COVID-19
Chapter 6: What really happens in hospitals
Chapter 7: Security. Knowledge. Power.
Chapter 8: The expert-knowers speak
Chapter 9: Respect. Communication. Care.
Chapter 10: Strategies for systemic transformation
Recommended further reading
Suggested learning activities

Annmaree Watharow MD, PhD has a medical degree, a Masters in Psychological Medicine, and a PhD on the hospital experiences of people living with sensory disabilities. Her current research and advocacy centres around improving accessibility, communication, care, and outcomes for people living with disabilities, especially in pandemics. She has lived experience of disabilities.

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