A speech and language therapist from Sheffield has been awarded £168,000 to create a tool for patients with communication difficulties.
Mark Jayes, who works at the Northern General Hospital, will spend the next three years developing, designing and testing the tool, which will enable medical staff to provide information for people suffering from dementia, brain injuries and learning disabilities.
The information could take the form of simplified text, photographs or videos, helping people make decisions about their hospital stay.
If successful, the device could be rolled out across the NHS.
Funding is being provided by the National Institute for Health Research, and Mr Jayes will be supported by experts from Sheffield University’s School of Health and Related Research.
Mr Jayes said: “This tool could help patients who have some sort of communication difficulty understand more information about their care and become more involved in decisions that directly affect them.
“This could include decisions about patients’ hospital treatment and also about their living arrangements when they leave hospital.”
The therapist added: “Published evidence shows that involving patients in decisions about their care leads to better health outcomes, so I’m delighted to have been awarded this funding.”
During the project Mark will work with patients and carers, as well as community groups.
Once developed, the tool will be tried out on wards across the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals trust, using groups of staff and patients.
The £168,000 has been provided under the National Institute for Health Research’s Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship scheme, which aims to encourage medics to become ‘health research leaders of the future’.
Mr Jayes said studies have found that people suffering from strokes or neurological conditions can struggle to make informed decisions because of their difficulties in communicating.
Experts at the trust help patients with language, speech, voice, hearing loss and swallowing disorders.