person-centered hearing network zoom meeting

Person-Centered Hearing Network goes online

By Amanda Farah Cox

The Ida Institute gathered the members of the Person-Centered Hearing Network (PCHN) on August 31 for a virtual update of the network’s activities. The PCHN brings together Ida’s university and professional and patient organization partners in a collaborative effort to make person-centered care (PCC) a standard in hearing healthcare. 

The Inaugural meeting of the PCHN took place last year in Denmark to discuss challenges and plan projects. This meeting, however, was moved online because of the ongoing coronavirus situation. 

“We felt it was important to gather everyone together online, especially in times of COVID-19,” says Ida Managing Director Lise Lotte Bundesen. “The effort everyone put into attending this online meeting, and the reactions we’ve received, underscores that we need this community now more than ever.”

Persevering through COVID lockdown

COVID-19 has, of course, had far reaching implications for the members of the PCHN – beyond having to move our meeting online. Before the meeting, Ida checked in with our university and professional and patient organization partners to find out how they have been affected by the situation and what actions they are taking to cope. 

Our university partners have been affected by the sudden and total shift to online learning, the social and technological divide this has created, and the loss of clinical placements for students. They have, however, encouraged students to create video essays, role play online, and look for inter-professional opportunities with other students in healthcare, such as testing medical students’ hearing.

Our professional organization partners have been working to support their members who are facing in-clinic challenges. Clinicians are spending more time on hygiene protocols, which means they have less time to see clients. Personal protective equipment – necessary for safe appointments – creates additional communication barriers and unanticipated costs. The organizations are trying to support their members as they branch out into telehealth and try to reopen their clinics safely. Meanwhile, their members’ new needs come at a time when the organizations themselves are missing out on the training and conference opportunities they rely on for both community and financial support.

Our patient organization partners, meanwhile, have mostly been concerned about the psychosocial affects social isolation has had on their members. The pandemic has been a catalyst for those who were contemplating online offerings to prioritize those initiatives. All of our partners have been contending with the communication challenges posed by face masks in some way. An initial set of tips written by Høreforeningen was quickly adapted and endorsed by all of our patient organization partners, allowing Ida to release a list of communication tips when using face masks. 

New resources and progress on projects

Despite the disruptions of the last five months, good progress has been made on a number of joint PCHN projects. 

The most recent achievement of the PCHN is the newly launched PCC Curriculum Guidelines. The PCC Curriculum Guidelines offer learning objectives for a variety of topics – supported by Ida resources – to  help make person-centered care a formalized part of an audiological education. It also lists observable behaviors students should exhibit when they have completed the course, as well as sample rubrics to help educators evaluate students’ person-centeredness.

Progress has also been made on two forthcoming projects: A campaign illustrating PCC for people with hearing loss, launching in late October, and a portal of PCC resources. Finally, participants were introduced to Ida’s new flagship project: the Future Hearing Journeys. The network will play a pivotal role in this new project, which is based on a comprehensive co-creation process during which we will gather insights from patients, professionals, academics and the industry. The purpose is to create solutions that can help patients and professionals navigate the new landscape of hearing care. 

“The positivity and enthusiasm among the meeting participants for the progress we have made in the last year showed their readiness to propel the PCHN into its next chapter,” says Lise Lotte Bundesen. “It was surprising but energizing to see that level of excitement in a large online meeting. It’s really a testament to the fact that person-centered care is still a priority for many, even in these challenging times.”