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How can Talking Mats be used to help someone identify worries about their health?

Within the Health and Well-being resource there are four symbol sets (health, looking after yourself, communication and leisure & environment). Within the ‘health’ set, there are three topics which can be used to help people express their views about different aspects of their health:
• Health
• Coping
• Mobility
I worked with Pete who had severe aphasia. Pete had a range of health problems, including epilepsy and high blood pressure. Pete found it very difficult to communicate with his GP, and usually relied on his wife to translate. This meant that not all of Pete’s health problems were addressed or discussed when he went to the doctor, and he often felt excluded from conversations at these appointments. Prior to one of Pete’s GP appointments, I used Talking Mats with Pete to find out how he felt about his health. During our discussions, Pete was able to tell me that he was worried about a number of issues, but he especially wanted to talk to his GP about his ears, as he was having a lot of pain and also had a ringing sensation in his ears which meant that he found it very difficult to concentrate, particularly when watching TV.

Pete health

Pete took the photo of his completed mat with him to his next GP appointment and his GP used this as a focus for discussions. As a result, Pete was referred to an audiologist for assessment. His GP also spent time discussing Pete’s epilepsy with him and referred him back to the epilepsy specialist nurse who worked with Pete and his wife to improve their understanding and management of it.

Using Talking Mats helped Pete prepare for his GP appointment and also ensured that his GP focused on what was important to him. As a result, time was spent more effectively by all and Pete felt listened to and really participated in his GP consultation.

Use the Talking Mats ‘health’ symbols from the health and well-being resource to help people prepare for appointments with health professionals and manage their health more effectively.