A new awareness campaign has been launched at Wrexham Maelor Hospital to improve understanding and awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
As part of the new drive – led by engagement officer Karen Owen – staff are being encouraged to engage with a new training programme exploring ways that health care professionals can best support patients who have medical conditions, but also have ASD.
The training programme, which is provided by the north Wales Integrated Autism Service, raises awareness of autism by helping staff to improve the experience of patients coming to North Wales hospitals who have ASD and may struggle with the environment.
The Health Board are also in the process of establishing a support group for staff who want to further their knowledge of ASD and how it can affect individuals.
The diabetes service in Wrexham Maelor is one of the first services to begin trialling new ways of supporting ASD individuals through designing materials that are given to patients before they have appointments to help them understand what to expect.
Julia Platts, all Wales lead for Diabetes said: “When people live with both Autism Spectrum Disorder and diabetes it can be more difficult to access the support needed.
“We need to work together to ensure everyone may access support in all health settings.
“I fully support all healthcare professionals in completing training in Autism Spectrum Disorder, it doesn’t take long to complete but can make the world of difference to the lives of people we care for.”
Karen Owen, engagement officer for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said, “It’s so important that we listen to feedback from our patients about how we can improve their experience.
“Patients are telling us that visiting hospital or clinics can sometimes be a challenge. Patients with ASD can find places like waiting areas and entrances disorientating and confusing.
“We want to make sure we help all of our patients be successful in their medical treatments and so we have begun to develop ways of making that journey better.
“We hope that making simple changes to the way we work and our healthcare settings can make a big difference to patients with ASD.”
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