Hearing Impaired Podiatry Patients' Experiences of Receiving Healthcare
Carson, K. (2016) Hearing Impaired Podiatry Patients' Experiences of Receiving Healthcare, no. 127.
Few Podiatrists are trained to assist in communication with hearing impaired patients. However, hearing impaired patients may constitute the bulk of patients seen when treating an elderly population. Keogh (2015) opines that over ten million adults in the UK have hearing loss, i.e. one in six of the population, and hearing loss will continue to be an even bigger challenge as the number of old people increases. It is vital that the hearing impaired have accurate communication in their healthcare because the conveyance of essential information could be potentially life-saving. Podiatrists have to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) in the UK, and Van der Gaag (2015) postulates that the HCPC wants to place more emphasis on partnership with patients and service users, and foregrounded the importance of attributes such as empathy and compassion in patient care. Empathy and compassion is required to fully comprehend the experiences of the hearing impaired. This study has aimed to highlight and understand the experiences of the hearing impaired who use hearing aids and regularly access podiatric healthcare. Six patients over the age of eighteen who use hearing aids and the services of a private podiatrist have been invited to take part in semi-structured interviews with the principal researcher. Their responses have been entered on to a laptop computer. The typed interview has been returned to the participant for their views, and whether they would like to add or change anything thereby attempting to achieve triangulation. The responses have then been analysed as per the suggestions of Finlay (2011) as a phenomenological approach with a hermeneutic focus. This means the aim is to evoke lived experience through the explicit involvement of interpretation (appendix 1). The results of the interviews demonstrated that the hearing impaired participants did experience difficulties in communication during their podiatric and other healthcare. The conclusions include education of the podiatrist in understanding problems of the hearing impaired, and practical suggestions to help the hearing impaired in their interaction with the podiatrist and their team.