The Cochlear Implant Champion Scheme aims to ensure that all eligible adults and children, and their families, are well informed about cochlear implants and are offered a timely referral. The scheme was started in 2019 by Martin O’Driscoll from the BCIG and Ann-Marie Dickinson from the BAA Service Quality Committee at the BAA conference, with the first training workshop being held in 2020.
Each cochlear implant champion is a member of staff within an audiology department who:
- Trains, supports and empowers staff in the team to counsel patients/clients and their families about cochlear implants.
- Ensures eligible patients/clients and their families are offered informed choice and shared decision-making when considering a CI referral.
- Audits the quality and quantity of CI referral counselling taking place in their service, and monitors referrals.
This year’s training session was held online and was run as part of the BCIG (British Cochlear Implant Group) virtual conference. The topics covered included:
- Counselling of potential CI candidates – adults and paediatrics. These sessions provided an overview of how and when to introduce the option of a cochlear implant to a patient (and their family). The sessions included interviews with CI users who described their individual pathways to obtaining a CI, including both positive and negative sections of their journeys. There were opportunities to ask questions via a written chat function, and there was a helpful discussion about what could be done to improve patient experiences as well as how to widen access to CI assessments for potential candidates.
- CI case studies – adults and paediatrics. The case studies looked at individual patients’ audiograms and speech test scores and gave a summary of several individual patient journeys towards a CI.
- Update on the CI Champion scheme. This included plans for future training and resources.
- Update from CI manufacturers (Advanced Bionics, Cochlear, Med-EL and Oticon).
There was also an opportunity to attend a virtual exhibition hall, view and comment on posters, ask questions of CI manufacturers and to connect directly with other delegates virtually.
From a CI champion’s perspective, the training day was easily accessible because it was online, although it may have been helpful to have more opportunity for discussion and verbal questions in the breakout sessions. It was informative to listen to CI users’ personal experiences and beneficial to find out about resources for use within audiology departments when considering referring a patient for a CI assessment.
British Cochlear Implant Group website: www.bcig.org.uk
For further information about the Cochlear Implant Champion Scheme visit: www.baaudiology.org/professional-information/cochlear-implant-champions
Report by Jenny Griffin, Audiologist, Manchester Royal Infirmary, UK.