The Northern Health & Social Care Trust has become the first Trust in Northern Ireland to commit to becoming JAM Card friendly in introducing the JAM Card to support autistic people and those with communication difficulties.
The JAM Card, which stands for Just A Minute, is a social innovation from the NOW Group, an organisation that supports people with autism and learning difficulties into employment. Previously their service users had said they would like a discreet way of telling people that sometimes they need a little extra time and patience.
It was initially created as a credit card sized card and has recently been developed into an app for smartphones. There are currently over 60,000 JAM card users across Northern Ireland, the UK and Ireland which in turn supports the consistency for service users.
JAM Card training has recently been rolled out and offered to over 750 staff in the Northern Health & Social Care Trust, with the plan to continue this over the coming months.
In the first phase staff from the Emergency Departments, Mental health, Radiology, Outpatients, Day Procedure and Cancer Services across the different hospital sites are working towards completing the short training programme. This ensures they are aware of the JAM card and how they can provide that important support to autistic people and others with communication barriers when it’s needed.
Following training these areas will then display the JAM Card logo and materials where all visitors entering the building will see it. This allows visitors/patients to show their JAM Card if they wish to do so when on the different sites.
Jayne Colville, ASD Service Improvement Coordinator with the Northern Trust, commented: “We’re delighted to introduce the JAM card to the Trust, it will make it much easier for service users to access our services and for us to ensure we are adequately meeting the needs of autistic people and others with communication barriers. Given that anxiety levels are naturally increased due to the current environment we’re living in, we feel it is more important than ever that we implement the JAM Card and we look forward to seeing the impact that has within those services.”
Leeann Kelly, Business Development Manager at the NOW Group said, “We are pleased to welcome the Northern Trust to the JAM Card family. Their services have so many touch points with members of the public who may have communication barriers which the JAM Card can help address. Their commitment to providing excellent customer care is especially welcomed at this challenging time and the hundreds of staff that have been trained will have a greater understanding and confidence to support clients with additional needs.”