RESEARCH: Heart of England Foundation Trust has launched a pilot project with charity Action on Hearing Loss in a bid to improve nursing practice for older patients with hearing difficulties.

The pilot is being funded by the Department of Health’s innovation, excellence and strategic development fund.

It is aims to analyse how staff at Heartlands Hospital deal with the admission and care of patients with hearing loss.

There are currently there are no formal mechanisms in hospitals for identifying hearing loss as part of the admissions process. The charity, formerly known as the Royal National Institute for the Deaf say this could lead to unnecessary communication problems between staff and patients with hearing loss, and even misdiagnosis in extreme cases.

The Birmingham research hospital will be used to influence the design of national guidance to improve the quality of nursing care for people with hearing loss. It will identify key points in a patient’s hospital treatment when it is essential that information about their hearing loss is recorded and acted upon.

Conclusions from the pilot will be used to produce national guidance and a toolkit shared with the DH and all NHS trusts to transform nursing care for patients with hearing loss.