Therapeutic radiographers Susie Layzell and Lara Burgess at Ipswich Hospital are introducing Just A Minute (JAM) cards and want to encourage other radiotherapy departments around the country to get involved to improve public awareness.
The JAM card allows those with learning difficulties, autism or communication barriers to tell others that they may take longer to process information, discreetly, easily and in an effective non-verbal manner.
Lara Burgess, therapeutic radiographer, commented, “As a radiotherapy department we are aiming to continuously improve patient care, not just within the walls of our building but to also help them beyond their treatment.
“Sometimes, just a little more understanding of a pause before talking, for example, can help develop a sense of confidence and control in the situation.”
With the life changing effects that radiotherapy can cause, the JAM card can be used by patients to alert shopkeepers, bus drivers, or anyone they choose to show, that they have some impairment, even temporarily.
Lara continued, “Patients that attend for radiotherapy to the brain can sometimes appear more withdrawn.
“Clearly there can be numerous reasons for patients having more confidence talking to radiographers in a more quiet and unobtrusive manner, but it simply opened the question: Can more support be given in the social setting?”
The JAM Card provides training to community services on how to best support the people that need it, but it is just as important that people are aware the card exists and to treat a person with compassion and empathy.
“Our aim is to set the path forward and we would like other groups and departments to help us achieve what we have set out to do.”