Cloverleaf helps Adults with Autism have their say on new hospital facilities
The New Hospitals Programme has been working with a range of voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise organisations, including Cloverleaf's Lancashire Peer and Self-Advocacy Service to better understand the needs of adults with autism when they are visiting hospital.
Daniel from CLASS, has been helping the organisation by providing valuable feedback on behalf of the peer support group to see how services and facilities can be improved.
His recent blog post with New Hospitals Programme provides a great insight into the issues currently faced by adults with autism around hospital visits.
How can new hospital facilities help adults with autism?
There are so many small details in older hospital facilities that sadly, make trips to hospital very difficult for people with autism. The spaces in hospital buildings are often too big, too bright and they echo. Sensory overload is very common in people with autism, and this is rarely considered in current hospital buildings. More private, quiet spaces, LED light bulbs that don’t buzz, lights that are dimmable and ideally, more natural light are all small details that will improve the hospital experience greatly for people with autism.
What else needs to be considered for this group of people?
The main concern amongst the group is the location of any potential new hospital facilities. Location can create a barrier in accessing services and facilities for autism. It’s widely recognised that some of our local hospitals aren’t at the standard that they could be, but they are close and that is a big consideration for people with autism.
If someone with autism needs an extended stay in hospital, they’re likely to need support from family and friends, particularly when it comes to communication. Patients with autism often have communication challenges and having a loved one close by to help is fundamental when people with autism are in hospital.
The group has appreciated the opportunity to give detailed feedback about the New Hospitals Programme, which it has done through interviews and questionnaires.
Adults with autism can often feel side-lined and considered an addendum to adults with learning difficulties when, in fact, many adults with autism do not have learning difficulties. We look forward to learning more about the New Hospitals Programme and how the plans are taking shape.