Accessible Information Standard (AIS) for Care Homes

Accessible Information Standard (AIS) for Care Homes

Health and Social Care Blog

Care Learning

2 mins READ

The Accessible Information Standard (AIS) is a key part of the health and social care system. It ensures that people with disabilities, impairments, or sensory loss receive information they can understand and supports their communication needs.

This standard is crucial for those in care homes as it affects their daily life and access to services.

What is the Accessible Information Standard?

The AIS was introduced by NHS England under the Health and Social Care Act 2012. Officially known as SCCI1605 Accessible Information, it came into effect on July 31, 2016. The standard requires NHS healthcare providers and publicly funded adult social care services to meet specific guidelines. These guidelines help ensure that patients, service users, carers, and parents who have disabilities or sensory losses get suitable communication support.

This framework plays an essential role in improving accessibility in healthcare settings, making sure everyone receives high-quality care tailored to their needs.

Key Requirements of the AIS in Care Homes

  1. Identify Needs:
    Care homes must determine if a resident has any communication or information needs because of disabilities, impairments, or sensory losses.
  2. Record Needs:
    These needs should be documented in a standard format within the resident’s personal file or care record. This makes it easier to share details with other NHS and adult social care providers.
  3. Flagging Needs:
    It’s important to highlight these needs in the individual’s records so that staff are aware of them each time they access the file.
  4. Meet the Needs:
    Care homes are required to address these identified needs appropriately. This may involve providing information in accessible formats like large print, braille, or easy read documents and arranging for communication support such as a British Sign Language interpreter.
  5. Sharing Information:
    With the individual’s permission, information about their communication needs should be shared with other NHS and adult social care services to ensure they receive consistent support wherever they go.

Implementation in Care Homes

In care homes, it’s essential to adapt communication methods to meet the needs of residents. For instance, a resident with poor vision might get medication instructions in large print (easy read) or audio format. Similarly, deaf residents could have access to sign language interpreters during medical consultations.

The Accessible Information Standard (AIS) plays a vital role in ensuring all residents can understand information about their care and services. Effective communication is key to providing safe and effective care.

Compliance and Monitoring

Care homes are required to follow the Accessible Information Standard as part of their regulatory obligations. The Care Quality Commission (CQC), which oversees health and social care services in England, checks that these standards are met during inspections.

Care homes need to demonstrate how they cater to the communication needs of their residents through regular assessments and care planning.

Final thoughts

Implementing the Accessible Information Standard in care homes is crucial for promoting equality and inclusion. It ensures that every resident, no matter their disability or sensory impairment, receives tailored communication that respects their individual needs. This approach not only improves the quality of care but also maintains the dignity of each individual, allowing them full participation in decisions about their own care.

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