For Disability Support Workers

A Disability Support Worker assists a patient with a cognitive disability
A hospital admission for a person with a cognitive disability can be a confusing and frightening experience resulting in behaviours that are difficult to interpret and manage. The capacity of staff to be able to communicate with the person may be limited. These factors increase the risk that a hospital admission could result in missed diagnosis, inefficient use of resources and an increased length of stay, miscommunication, disjointed discharge planning and disconnection with community resources leading unplanned re-admissions.

The positive or negative experiences that a person with cognitive disability experiences in a NSW hospital depends largely on effective communication between disability support staff, the disability team leader, hospital staff and community based health services.

The Admission2Discharge (A2D) Together Folder was created to facilitate timely transfer of relevant and current information to enable hospital staff to meet the needs of people with cognitive disability and thereby improve their hospital journeys and health outcomes.

Disability Support Workers play an important role in planning for, and supporting people with cognitive disability when they go to hospital for a planned or unplanned (emergency) admission. Good communication between the person, their family, guardian, hospital staff and disability professionals is essential. This can make a significant difference to the person’s health outcomes, their hospital experience and their quality of life.

The Admission2Discharge (A2D) Together Folder is designed to assist Disability Support Workers, health professionals and the person, to work together, with a shared understanding of the person’s specific individual and health needs.

A key element of securing a positive hospital experience is forward planning. Working with the person with a disability, their family and Disability Support Workers to create a plan for any hospital admission is a good way to manage this. This enables everyone to work through what may be the barriers and challenges and how these can be addressed prior to the admission and during.

Benefits of the A2D Together Folder;

  • Easy access to the person’s medication and medical information
  • Important information to keep the person safe in the hospital setting
  • Person’s specific communication needs, unique signs and behaviours
  • Strategies to support the person if they become distressed
  • Ways that the person prefers to be supported are understood at a time when they may not be able to express this themselves clearly
  • Contact details for the person responsible/ Guardian/support staff
  • Access to additional support plans necessary to maintain person’s health and wellbeing during their hospital stay
  • Make it easier for health professional to do their job
  • Improve the hospital journey for person