Have you ever wondered how you could obtain informed consent from a deaf client?

Updated: Feb 7

It’s estimated that over half a million people in Ontario are deaf or hard of hearing. Given the prevalence, chances are that you’ll be caring for a person with a serious hearing impairment at some point in your nursing career. How will you communicate with them? How will you gain permission to provide care? How will you obtain informed consent?

A really engaging and practical workshop on beginner medical American Sign Language was offered during the CNSA National Conference 2020. Within an hour, we learned the basics of communicating using finger spelling and medical/hospital terminology.

Asking for permission to perform nursing interventions involves using the letter sign for “p” with both hands while raising your eyebrows to indicate that it’s a question. Below are a few signs that might be useful for your future practice. If you’d like to learn more, check out Amy Rowe’s beginner medical American Sign Language videos here.












Written by Louise Biggar

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Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto

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