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Patients & Visitors - Patients with a disability

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Patients with a disability

At the RD&E we aim to provide a service that is user friendly and easily accessible to all. In order to ensure we meet this expectation in 2005 the Trust established a dedicated working group to improve processes for admission and effective care of patients with a specific requirement. This group is called the Disability Equality Action Group (DEAG).

DEAG is chaired by the Trust’s Lead Nurse for Children and the membership is made up of people who use our services, relevant community organisations and staff from different areas of the work force.


DEAG are an action group, which means they focus on finding solutions to identified problems and then implement the necessary change. 


Below are full details on tools introduced by DEAG as a contribution towards improving patient care:

The Access Support Card has been introduced to assist patients and visitors who have a specific requirement to communicate effectively with hospital staff when accessing services within the Trust. For more information on how you can get a card click here.


Specific requirement assessment form - click for the form

This form should be completed at first contact which could be in the Emergency Department (ED), at a pre-assessment appointment, or a general admission. It should be completed with the patient, relative, or carer and is designed to ensure that patients with a specific requirement have their specific care needs met.


If you want to prepare in advance you can complete a specific requirement assessment form (click on the title) and bring it along to the appointment.



It was recognised through DEAG the need to develop a method of identifying patients who have a specific requirement and a number of standardised symbols have been agreed to flag patients’ health records with yellow sticky labels and the hospitals main electronic patient records system. Click here for more information on patient signage.

These are the symbols:



In addition to the notes flagging, yellow square clip-on signs are to be attached to the patient’s bedside drip pole; these include the additional symbols indicating ‘Nil by Mouth’, and ‘Requires Assistance with Eating and Drinking’.

nil by mouth symbols

Prior to flagging a patient’s records and their bed space area it is essential that the patient’s consent is obtained by filling out a specific requirement consent form.


If you would like to arrange for your notes to be flagged then please complete the specific requirement consent form and return to; Natalie Stone, Governance Support Unit, Room K15, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Barrack Road, Exeter, EX2 5DW

Theatre Scheduling for Patients with Specific Requirements.
All patients booked for routine surgery are pre-assessed in a clinic led by the nursing pre-assessment team. At this assessment a patient who has a specific requirement can be identified, and plans made to ensure their specific requirements are recorded and met effectively during their admission.


With the written consent of the patient, and/or their representative their hospital notes are flagged by attaching the relevant symbol. The pre-assessment nurse will then complete a specific requirement tracking form electronically, and forward this to all relevant personnel to alert them of the patient’s s specific requirements.


The assessment nurse or secretary will then enter comments on the waiting list comments page to ensure both the ward staff and site practitioners are made aware of the patient’s specific requirements.  The matron will then take the appropriate actions to ensure the patient is expected and their specific needs are anticipated. The matron will also contact the patient or their representatives if they consider this is necessary.  If the theatre schedule is likely to need to be changed the matron needs to ensure that the theatre sister is contacted and informed.


Tools available to patients:

If you or somebody you know has a disability and are due to come into hospital, please notify the department you are due to visit of any specific requirements so that we can ensure we are prepared to meet your needs.


If you have an idea that you feel could help to improve the experience for patients or staff that are affected by a disability then please send your suggestions to Natalie Stone,, Secretary to the Disability Equality Action Group. All submissions will be taken to the bi-monthly DEAG meeting for further consideration.


To view the Trusts policy on addressing the needs of patients with a specific requirement please see our Care of Patient with a specific requirement policy


For further information on the Trusts Disability Equality Action Group, please contact Natalie Stone on 01392 402187 /