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P-206 Progressing through the path of the pandemic with dyslexia – A senior leader’s perspective
  1. Tracy Cunningham
  1. St Luke’s Hospice, London, UK


Introduction I am Assistant Director of Care and Quality at St. Luke’s Hospice working internally and externally with health and social and voluntary care providers. I have dyslexia and was undergoing coaching and training on the use of new software for my dyslexia when the pandemic struck.

Aims To raise awareness of dyslexia and hidden disabilities, the specific challenges it has brought through the pandemic with implications for the wider workforce and the impact of not being able to continue my dyslexia support from an external organisation.

Discussion I was required to formulate a prompt response to the pandemic and rapidly changing guidance to inform, direct and support the diverse wider workforce. The reduction of face-to-face contact with colleagues, and a significant increase in demand for visiting dying patients at home presented huge challenges with the introduction of virtual technology. This impacted on my role both professionally and personally, requiring me to declare my dyslexia openly more than ever before.

In a position of influence, having strategic vision and role modelling remained crucial whilst promoting inclusiveness that empowered others. Emergency response meetings meant information could not be shared early, a key consideration for staff with dyslexia. Assimilation of the information to make this meaningful and implementation of new ways of working was a constant challenge whilst supporting others at a crucial time. The Equality Act and what this truly means in practice came into sharp focus. Training around facilitative technology for dyslexia was suspended replaced with self-taught techniques alongside the need to be continually creative and resilient.

COVID-19 provided an opportunity to raise awareness and highlight the specific needs that staff with dyslexia may have when required to work at pace within an ever changing landscape. It was imperative that the same compassionate tolerance, inclusivity and fairness, cornerstones of hospice care provision, was afforded to all staff at this time, particularly those with dyslexia.

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