WHAT IS A RADIOGRAPHER?
It is vital that radiographers and other members of the radiographic workforce are able to understand and support the needs of people with dementia and their carers. Not only is this because all patients are entitled to the best possible, personalised care but, vitally, understanding and meeting the care needs of people with dementia will ensure the best outcomes from imaging and radiotherapy. (Freeman 2015). To support this I am delighted to share in this week blog “what is a radiographer” with more follow up blogs later
A Radiographer is an Allied Health Professional (AHP), who can be found in either the X-ray Department or Radiotherapy Department of your local Hospital. We work as part of a team with Nursing and Healthcare Support Workers. There are two types of Radiographer:
When visiting an X-ray department you may have an X-ray, or one of the following scans CT, MRI or Ultrasound, Nuclear Medicine, performed by a Diagnostic Radiographer. We can also provide a large range of treatments which may reduce the need for surgery. The Radiographer may also have the role of providing the formal result issued to your doctor after the scan or x-ray has taken place.
When undergoing treatment at your local Radiotherapy Centre you will encounter the Therapeutic Radiographer. It is their role to work as part of an oncology team, specialising in the planning and administration of radiotherapy treatment for patients, most of whom have cancer. Using a wide range of technical equipment the radiographer delivers accurate doses of radiation to the tumour to destroy the diseased tissue, while minimising the amount of radiation to surrounding healthy tissue.
How CAN a Radiographer help YOU?
It may be the case that at some point in your life you will have the need to visit one of the departments listed above and as such it is important to understand the role of the radiographer and how they can be of help to you.
Whether radiographers are playing a part in finding out what is wrong with individuals or providing treatment, it is essential that we have your co-operation. Our role usually involves positioning patients in a particular way using equipment that can seem intimidating. Communication is KEY to ensuring that this is performed with ease.
Often there can be barriers to communication with conditions such as Dementia. In this case it is helpful to make the radiographers aware of any challenges that you or your relative may have that would make it difficult for the tests or treatment to be completed to the highest standard.
Radiographers would welcome the expertise of any relatives or carers who are accompanying patients to ensure you have a timely and positive experience within our departments. If there are any adjustments that can be made prior to arrival for an appointment then please call ahead and speak to staff who will try their best to accommodate any specific requests. Your visit to the x-ray or radiotherapy department may lead to future hospital appointments and radiographers would welcome the opportunity to make your hospital experience as comfortable as possible.
Caring for People with Dementia
To support ALL the radiography workforce our professional body developed a clinical practice guideline for the radiography workforce (imaging and radiotherapy). This is a comprehensive set of evidence-based recommendations for the whole radiographic workforce caring for people with dementia and their carers when undergoing imaging and/or radiotherapy. The guideline has recommendations for good practice for individual members of the radiographic workforce, service managers, academic institutions and the Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR).
The document contains recommendations under 7 themes in the following areas:
- The practice environment –acknowledging the need for special provision;
- Building relationships with patients and carers to optimise the patient experience;
- Strategies for optimising communication with people with dementia and their carers;
- Understanding patients’ behaviour and adopting positive ways to reduce distressed reactions;
- Carer involvement;
- Staff skills and attitudes;
- Training needs.
You can see a copy of the full guidelines here and I will blog again on this and the “day in the life of a radiographer” later this year.
Thank you for reading my blog and please leave any questions or comments.
Also please log on to the Society of Radiographers website for more information www.sor.org
Caroline Handley, Lead Radiographer / Secretary of Scottish Council of Radiographers
Lead Radiographer within the Imaging Department of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow. I am a Diagnostic Radiographer who on a daily basis ensures the smooth running of the Imaging Department.