25 November 2019
By Elaine Murphy
A bespoke training course specifically designed for audiologists by Cork charity, Ag Eisteacht, has been approved for 16.5 CPD points by The Irish Academy of Audiology (IAA), the professional body for audiologists in Ireland, for its members.
The ‘ABLE2Listen’ course was also shortlisted under the ‘Patient Organisation Project of the Year’ category in the Irish Healthcare Awards 2019.
Working closely with a group of audiologists to ensure that the content met their aim of providing an improved service to their patients, Ag Eisteacht designed a bespoke, evidence-informed course based on its core ABLE (Adopt a relational approach, Build & Boundary, Listen and Empower) brief intervention training model.
The aim of ABLE2Listen training is to support audiologists in building relationships with their patients and to help them to manage boundaries of time, role and competence.
Ag Eisteacht is the Irish word for listening. A key component of the ABLE model is listening so that practitioners have the skills to be present and attuned to understand the client’s perspective and build more responsive relationships.
Dr Maeve Hurley, founder of Ag Eisteacht, said: “Every working day frontline practitioners such as audiologists have to manage challenging conversations, such as having to break bad news, yet there is very little training available to support them through these brief interventions.
“Our ABLE2Listen training helps audiologists to build rapport and trust, and to listen effectively and reflectively so that patients and their families feel heard and understood and can then be empowered to be active participants in their own care. It gives audiologists the skills, insight and a framework to make the most of these ‘turned to’ moments, while helping them to manage boundaries and look after their own and their patients’ wellbeing.”
A group of eleven audiologists recently completed the training, with participants reporting that their skill levels had increased following the training in relation to topics such as the ability to build rapport with clients, managing emotions and being able to respond appropriately when clients are upset.
The course content includes evidence-informed insight into Infant Mental Health, the developmental stages of relationships, Adverse Childhood Experiences, Attachment Theory and Transition/Change to help practitioners understand what may be going on for clients in their lives.
“Feedback to our training has been extremely positive, with pre- and post-course questionnaires and a follow up session showing that the training had increased audiologists’ insight into and understanding of how, for example, parents of a child with impaired hearing might feel and behave when their child is diagnosed with a hearing loss,” said Dr Maeve Hurley.
Ag Eisteacht now plans to roll this training out on a national level throughout Ireland to support Irish audiologists to take a relationship-centred, reflective approach, and ensure that, along with the expertise of the audiologists’ input, patients and their families are supported in coming to terms with and adapting to a diagnosis of hearing impairment.