On Wednesday 13th September, Hcsuk team members Jo, Beckie and Phil attended a Disability Confident Course hosted by the Warrington Disability Partnership in conjunction with the British Healthcare Trades Association.
The course has been designed, by people who themselves have disabilities, to help people working within the care industry, to consider the barriers faced by disabled people, gain a better understanding of the term ‘disability’ and most importantly to increase ‘disability confidence’ and to see a person first, not just their disability.
MD Jo Bonser said,
‘When I first saw this course I thought it would be great for our team to attend, as our business is centred around working with members of the public and residents in care homes with disabilities. I want to ensure that we are always confident in our interactions with our customers and treat them with dignity and respect. So often, from my own experience of taking my Mum out, who is 96 and a wheelchair user, I see examples where Mum, because she is accompanied by either myself or a carer, is largely ignored. For example. in a shop or a restaurant, staff choose to interact with myself rather than Mum, even though Mum is the actual customer! Although Mum lives with Vascular Dementia, and can sometimes become confused and have memory lapses, she is acutely aware of people talking over her as though she’s not there, and this makes her feel frustrated and angry’.
Often this isn’t done through malice, but through embarrassment and a lack of confidence and experience/training in speaking to someone with a disability. People are conscious that they do not wish to cause offence, however they don’t know what to do, so rather than say the wrong thing, they say nothing at all to the person with a disability, which can make that person feel isolated and frustrated.
I was delighted that all of our team members were enthusiastic about attending this course and becoming more disability confident.
Beckie , who is our Internal Sales Coordinator, often helps out in our mobility showroom serving members of the public, and Beckie told me, ‘the course has helped me to become more aware of asking more of the right questions when dealing with customer enquiries.'
Phil, our new Field Service Engineer, has joined us, already possessing a wealth of experience and a good awareness of working with people with varied disabilities as he services and maintains powered wheelchairs and specialist seating. Phil commented, ‘I always aim to talk to people at their level, so if they are sitting in a specialist seat or wheelchair I will crouch down so I can make eye contact and make them feel at ease.’
Our other team members will be attending the course next month and we hope that they all have the same positive experience as we did.