Pictorial Communications Handbook

The Pictorial Communication Handbook was developed with the aim to overcome communication barriers with patients with learning disabilities and patients with language barriers or communications problems who were using Patient Transport Services.

The Pictorial Communication Handbook has enabled North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) to enhance the patient experience for patients with learning disabilities. It has allowed NWAS to overcome fears which were preventing use of services and enhance the health and safety of patients. It was developed with the full involvement of patients and patient groups.

A working group was formed to develop and produce this handbook, led by Caroline Stubbs, Care Assistant, Stockport Patient Centre and the following key stakeholders:

  • Human Resources Advisor
  • PTS Care Assistant
  • PTS Clinical Practice Trainers
  • PTS Supervisor - NWAS Merseyside
  • Assistant Divisional Managers - NWAS Merseyside/Manchester
  • Person Centred Planning Co-ordinator - Salford City Council
  • Lead Total Communications Coordinator - Salford City Council
  • Quality Assurance Officer - Salford City Council

HOW WE GOT THERE.............

How we got there
A draft handbook was shared with Learning Disability groups and users before being developed in a pilot form for trial within the service. The trial was run within an area of NWAS.

The final Pictorial Communication Book was then produced and its implementation, supported by training, has now been carried out across the North West.

Detailed training from Salford was given to in-house NWAS trainers who then delivered appropriate training to all Patient Transport Service staff to give them an overview of total communications and enable them to use the book flexibly and appropriately.

The book is not designed to be used from cover to cover but to be dipped into and the appropriate messages, tailored to the individual needs of patients. It provides a toolkit to support the individualised care and communication needs of patients.

The pilot proved to be a great success, and as a result, 1000 copies of the handbook were issued to Patient Transport vehicles to further support patients with language difficulties in their communication thus enabling them to be transported safely with dignity and respect.

The handbook made it to the final three for the Adopt, Adapt and Improve category at the 2009 Health and Social Care Awards. The awards, run by the NHS Institute, recognise the excellent work being done by NHS, social care and voluntary organisations. Unfortunately the handbook didn't win, but it was a great achievement of the team to be nominated.
Due to the success of the hand book, the group has now produced a version of the handbook for the Paramedic Emergency Service and issued to all emergency vehicles.