October 2018: This chapter was amended to include a link to guidance for social workers working with adults with acquired hearing loss, published by BASW, as above. A link was also added to the Accessible Information Standard document, which all providers of NHS care or other publicly-funded adult social care must meet.
Some adults with care and support needs, and their carers, may require the services of an interpreter, signer or another professional who has specific communication skills. This may be as a result of not having sufficient comprehension or command of spoken English or other communication difficulties, as the result of hearing problems or learning or physical disabilities for example.
Adults and carers with specific communication needs should be supported to access interpreters, signers and other communicators to ensure their needs are met (see Assessment) wellbeing is promoted and their needs prevented, reduced or delayed (see Promoting Wellbeing and Preventing, Reducing or Delaying Needs). They should receive the same level of service as those in the local population who do not have communication needs.
There are a number of main principles that should be considered when a person has communication needs:
Decisions about the way in which the interpreter / communicator will be used will depend on their skills and training, the needs of the adult / carer and the purpose of the meeting.
Staff working with interpreters / communicators should not use them to obtain information about racial, cultural, religious or language issues. This is not a proper use of an interpreter; also their mores and life experiences may not necessarily reflect those of the adult / carer.
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