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Eastbourne & Willingdon Lib Dems

Stephen Lloyd MP welcomes new quality mark to improve residential care for British Sign Language users

March 10, 2014 3:11 PM

Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne, has pledged his support for improving residential care for older Deaf people who communicate using British Sign Language (BSL) by raising awareness of a new Deaf-Aware Care quality mark for care homes. The quality mark has been developed by RAD and Sonus, two charities that support Deaf people.

Mr Lloyd said, "For Deaf BSL users, life in residential homes where no-one speaks their language can be depressing and they can become isolated and withdrawn. I've been working closely with RAD for a number of years now to encourage homes in Eastbourne to achieve the Deaf-Aware Care quality mark. I will continue to work towards this in order to make older deaf people's lives easier."

Mr Lloyd hosted the launch of the Deaf-Aware Care quality mark at the House of Commons on 4 March 2014. The Minister for Care and Support, Norman Lamb MP, told the meeting, "I give you a complete assurance that I will do anything I can to support and promote the quality mark within the system."

The meeting also heard from Leslie Key, a Deaf 88-year-old care home resident, who said, "When you cannot communicate with anybody because nobody uses or understands sign language or what it is like to be deaf, then believe me that's hell."

Jan Sheldon, chief executive of RAD, said, "It is great to have Stephen Lloyd's support for making residential care homes better places for deaf BSL users to live in."

The meeting also launched a new study by the University of Manchester into social care for older deaf people. This confirmed that older BSL users were receiving inadequate residential care because their cultural and communication needs were ignored.

Stephen Lloyd said, "In the next 20 years, the number of BSL users over 65 will increase by 35 per cent. We need to become more Deaf-aware now to ensure their needs are met."