The Centre Médico-Psychologique Signes in Poitiers now offers mental healthcare for deaf patients. A specially created team provides support for the deaf and hard of hearing as part of the centre’s psychological and psychiatric treatment services.
The Centre Médico-Psychologique Signes (CMP Signes) at the Henri Laborit Hospital (CHL) in Poitiers has been offering consultations in sign language since January. The treatment is open to any deaf adult experiencing mental health problems and using French sign language (LSF). As the CHL website explained, it is the fourth unit in France to provide this type of support.
“There is a very sizeable deaf community in Poitiers,” said Dr Laurence Pérault, a CMP Signes psychiatrist trained in French sign language. “There was a need to offer it adapted care in its language, LSF, as a way of ensuring access, understanding and autonomy in mental health care.”
Individual consultations and support
In addition to providing individual psychiatric consultations in LSF and tactile LSF, the CMP Signes supports deaf patients with the CHL’s various services, the idea being to improve their treatment.
Dr Pérault’s team, which is already monitoring some 30 patients, comprises a nurse, a secretary and a liaison officer, who, as the doctor explained, “belongs to the deaf community and is there to reassure patients, make communication easier, and check that they have clearly understood the treatment guidelines”.
A team at the service of deaf patients and the deaf and visually impaired
The service has been designed to provide the best possible response to deaf patients and also to deaf people who are partially sighted: “These people always have to make the effort of adapting to their surroundings in everyday life, but here we’re the ones who are adapting,” said Dr Pérault.
The CMP Signes has also developed an LSF dictionary for its nursing staff to help them care for deaf patients. It can be downloaded free of charge at the CHL website : ch-laborit.fr.
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