Shining a light on great practice

By Helle Gjønnes Møller

While person-centered care (PCC) has been steadily growing in recent years and increasingly appears in standards and regulations, implementation is still slow in places. Many hearing care professionals lack dedicated training in the area and are unsure how to apply it in practice. To shed light on this topic, the British Academy of Audiology and the Ida Institute are hosting a webinar on Inspired by Ida – a program that provides structured training and practical guidance in how to apply PCC in everyday clinical practice. 

In warming up for the webinar, we spoke with Inspired member Ben Mann from Click Hearing in Essex, UK, about the program and about specific results from practicing PCC in an audiology setting. 

Like smoking on airplanes
Mann is confident that clients choose Click Hearing specifically for the team’s ability and dedication to focus on individual needs and challenges. “If you check out our reviews, there’s almost always a nod to the clients feeling welcomed and understood,” says Mann. “I think that there is a growing expectation from clients that they want to be seen as experts in their own bodies and that they are looking for help with getting the best from that body. I do think that the medical model is beginning to lose traction. I’m sure that before too long, the medical model will be one of those things that seemed so normal at the time, but that we look back upon with bewilderment – a bit like smoking on airplanes.”

At the end of her tether
Mann thinks of a recent appointment where PCC made a world of difference. “I saw a 12-year-old boy last week that was referred by an ENT for diagnostics. His mum explained that he’d lost his hearing suddenly. He was able to hear with bone conduction headphones, so she had been calling him on the telephone to speak with him while he used the headphones. Mum was at the end of her tether and explained that the audiologist at the hospital had said that he was faking a hearing loss, that he could hear perfectly well, and that mum shouldn’t feed into it by using the phone to speak with him. She was very angry with the department and questioned the outcome that was offered.

"Having tested him, I also concluded a non–organic hearing loss – i.e., a loss without anatomic or physiological explanations – but mum left the appointment much more positive than she arrived. I didn’t do any different tests, but mum felt listened to and was happier to accept my news because of how it was delivered. She didn’t question my outcome because she trusted me and could see that I was genuinely interested in unpicking whatever was going on. ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’ was famously coined by Roosevelt – and I think it’s bang on.”

Enjoying the job immensely 
In considering how PCC has affected his job satisfaction as an audiologist, Mann says, “PCC has been how I do things for a very long time, so it’s difficult to imagine practicing in a different way. I can say that I’ve been an audiologist for a very long time though, and that I still enjoy my job immensely. So that has to say something about it!”

Shines a light on great practice
So how has Inspired by Ida made a difference in terms of enhancing PCC at Click Hearing? Mann says, “I think that rolling out the program across the organization has been really helpful and allowed us to deliver consistency. The program shines a light on great practice and how even the most experienced and well-meaning practitioners can be better with a bunch of easy tweaks. I think the Inspired program is well worth doing. It is accessible and the bite-sized modules mean that it is easy to fit into breaks and no-shows. For single dispenser practices, it’s a great way to guide your reflective practice and for larger organizations, it’s an excellent onboarding tool to get a consistent approach to the team.”

If you wish to follow Click Hearing’s example, visit Inspired by Ida for details. We also invite you to join the British Academy of Audiology webinar on Tuesday, 25 May 2021, where you can hear from other Inspired members what a difference PCC can make in your daily practice.