Sensory service (west Kent)

Contact us

Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4.30pm
0300 1234 195
kentchft.ldsref@nhs.net

You can also refer online using our CLDT online referral form.

Who we are

Our sensory experts offer a wide range of support for people with a sensory impairment. This includes people who are:

  • deaf or have a hearing impairment,
  • severely sight impaired or registered as sight impaired,
  • dual sensory impaired or deafblind with communication needs.

Our service only covers the west Kent area.

What we do

We complete assessments in a community setting convenient to the person, for example their home, day centre or clinic. The assessments are designed to make sure all aspects of the individual’s sensory needs are met, which includes looking at the different environments they access. We will discuss and agree the various options available to ensure the immediate environment is conducive to the person’s sensory needs and provide detailed recommendations.

We can also provide support and help with:

  • attending ophthalmic or audio appointments,
  • familiarisation and desensitisation,
  • tolerance of spectacles and hearing aids,
  • looking after your spectacles and hearing aids,
  • accessing local services and route planning (sensory awareness training),
  • loaning equipment.

We have access to a sensory room which can be used for leisure or educational activities. This also provides a safe and relaxing environment which can be used for preparing someone before their ophthalmic or audio appointments.

Treatment plans are discussed and agreed with the person and their carers. For example, before attending a vision or hearing appointment, a detailed familiarisation plan will be created to make sure the best possible outcome is achieved with minimal anxiety for the person. This may include shining an ophthalmoscope into the eyes and/or an auroscope into the ears.  Where appropriate, support is provided according to the Mental Capacity Act through best interest meetings and deprivation of liberty procedures. These provide a framework for making sure we follow the appropriate guidance for someone who may not be able to consent to their care, or who needs extra support to understand why they need particular treatment.

We promote and implement reasonable adjustments protocols, which make sure services are familiar with the needs of our clients and the adjustments they need to make to ensure their care. For example, this may involve requesting appointments at a quieter time to minimise anxiety and distress. A familiarisation visit may be needed to enable the person to meet with their optometrist or audiologist and view the equipment they plan to use at their appointment. We advise on the person’s preferred method of communication and where necessary provide relevant ‘easy read’ information. An integral part of our role is to highlight the needs for the Dementia Screening Tool and Pathway, making sure the needs for this client group are well-managed, therefore enhancing and promoting their quality of life.

How do you use this service

We accept self-referrals and referrals from health and social care professionals, carers and family members.  The referral requires concise relevant information to be completed and submitted to the central referral system. We will then contact you to arrange an appointment for an initial visit.