In the 2018 Census, 286,000 Australians identified as having intellectual and development disabilities. Almost 60% of people with intellectual disability have severe communication limitations. As a result, many people with disability may not understand the admission, treatment or discharge process when requiring health treatment.
When communication breaks down, there is a great risk of harm to patients with disability, staff, other patients, and the general public when a patient does not follow their health treatment, or when their behaviours escalate due to distress. Improved communication can remove many of the barriers to optimal health treatment and can minimise distress significantly, leading to a substantial reduction of risk.
The project aims to develop communication strategies so people with intellectual disability, autism, Down syndrome and acquired brain injury have positive interactions and experiences of communication with health staff.
We aim for people with disabilities to be more involved in decisions about their care, including decisions regarding discharge, staff answering questions in an understandable way and staff listening.