Patients, visitors and staff with a hidden disability can now make their disability more visible thanks to a new scheme at Bury Care Organisation, which runs Fairfield General Hospital and community services.
Dr Owen Williams, chief executive, Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, came along to support the launch of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme at Fairfield General Hospital on 28 June.
The sunflower is a globally recognised symbol for non-visible disabilities, also known as hidden disabilities or invisible disabilities.
As part of the scheme, Bury Care Organisation has introduced Hidden Disability Sunflower lanyards, wristbands, and badges for people to wear. These can be picked up at the main entrance or main outpatients and in the community at the main health clinics – Townside and Tottington initially.
This means that those with a hidden disability can now make their disability visible to those around them while in hospital.
Hidden disabilities can include autism, chronic pain, and learning difficulties as well as mental health conditions, mobility, speech impairments, and sensory loss such as speech, sight loss, hearing loss, or deafness. Sunflower information posters have been put up around the hospital and in clinical areas to raise awareness and show support.
Tracy Shaw, Patient Experience Lead at Bury Care Organisation, said:
“This scheme will make a huge difference for staff and patients accessing our services. Some disabilities are not immediately obvious, so we do not always recognise that someone has a hidden disability, nor understand the challenges they face in accessing healthcare services. The sunflower lanyard helps by discreetly indicating that the wearer has a hidden disability and may need help, understanding, or more time when accessing healthcare.
“It is a pleasure to launch the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme across Bury Care Organisation. The roll out includes Fairfield General Hospital and all the community services and has involved face to face and online education programmes for all staff across the organisation.”