T.W.W.GO1, H.T. MOK1, L.H.J.CHEW1, S.ACHARYYA1, L.X.QUEK1, E.C.HO1
Tan Tock Seng Hospital1
Healthcare workers (HCWs), patients and caregivers perceived similar communication vulnerability and needs in healthcare settings. This study aims to pilot and evaluate a low-cost, easy-to-use toolkit; ‘Communication Access for Patients and Providers (CAPP)’ in selected clinical touchpoints with higher susceptibility of patients facing communication hurdles.
Prospective, pre-post interventional study. CAPP was piloted between December 2020 to March 2021 at 3 outpatient departments. HCWs, patients and caregivers were surveyed on toolkit’s effectiveness in overcoming communication hurdles. CAPP included tools to help overcome vision, hearing-impairment, poor cognition, memory, language difficulty and speech-impairments. 69 patients (mean age: 74), 55 caregivers (mean age: 75), and 62 frontline HCWs (mean age: 33) were recruited at a tertiary hospital.
Post-intervention, patients reported reduced need for improvement across all 6 domains: vision (before: 15%, after: 10%), hearing (before: 54%, after: 23%), cognition (before 41%, after: 20%), memory (before: 43.6%, after: 26.7%), language difficulty (before: 5%; after: 0%), and speech (before 8.3%, after: 3.2%). Overall, 53% of patients (down from 97% before intervention) continue to identify the need to improve communication in any or more than one of the identified domains. Similar trend was observed from caregivers (before: 96%, after: 68%). Interestingly, post intervention, HCWs reported no reduction in ‘need to improve’. Nonetheless, all HCWs who had used the toolkit agreed that having readily available tools made communication easier.
HCWs, patients and caregivers felt that CAPP was effective in lowering barriers of communication. Scaling up its availability may help overcome communication barriers in other healthcare settings.