Video: If you listen, you will hear us

Introduction to complex needs

“If you listen, you will hear us” produced by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust aims at involving people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) in the planning and commissioning of services that they use.

Starting from the recognition that everybody can communicate, this video explains how people with complex needs often have complex health needs, great difficulty communicating and sometimes challenging behaviour. The video shows the need to value all ways of communicating, the fact that everyone communicates, and how a very personalised approach is needed for people with severe disabilities and complex needs. It shows the need to listen for a long time and with much attention to understand their needs.

There is little practice of using the personal, everyday information gathered by families and carers to monitor and plan services for people with complex needs. Their preferences are expressed mainly through their day-to-day behaviour and their communication signals may be very minor. In the video, one supporter says that it took her about 30 years to understand a person wit severe intellectual disability fluently.

It is essential for the continuency of communication with a person that this kind of information is recorded and available to all new people in a person's life. Communication Passports are an excellent way to do that and to build a long-term picture of what people with complex needs like and dislike and what their wishes are. Without such a long-term vision, people with complex needs may often be denied the right and possibility for self-determination.

The video also points out that Communication Passports provide absolutely vital information for service planning and delivery. Only if the wishes of a person are known, the necessary support services can be put in place.


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