Stage 3 – Flagging needs

Communication records MUST be flagged or otherwise made ‘highly visible’ to relevant staff and professionals in advance of further visits or contact from the service user.

Picture of Service user along side a quote

“If it was clearly flagged up on my notes, that I have a hearing impediment, and perhaps with bulletpoints of suggestions: looking at me, maybe speaking slower, ideally if I can be interviewed in a quieter space - that would be of great benefit to me.”


Sophia Macgibbon
service user

Records of communication support needs must be made ‘highly visible’ to relevant staff and professionals. ’Highly visible’ means:

  • Obvious and overtly apparent
  • Visible on the cover, title and/or ‘front page’ of a document, file or electronic record
  • Visible on pages of an electronic record (as an alert, flag or banner)
  • Highlighted in paper records to draw attention to the information using larger or bolder fonts, or different colours.

Once the service user’s communication needs are captured, the Standard requires a record of these needs to be made ‘highly visible.’ The system must prompt that action is taken to meet the needs when next contacting the service user or when the service user makes contact.

Where paper records are used, a clear process must make staff aware of actions to be taken and highlight notifications or alerts. The information SHOULD appear on the front cover and/or front page of a patient or service user’s notes, file or record. If a patient or service user's notes, file or record has multiple volumes, these support needs MUST be visible on the front cover and/or front page of every volume.

Electronic records or administration systems MUST flag communication support needs (through alerts). Although not a requirement of the Standard, automatic triggering of actions to respond to needs is the preferred method to manual processes that rely on staff memory.


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Guidance for reviewing and updating needs

Once data is recorded about service user’s information or communication support needs, the system MUST prompt, and staff MUST ensure these needs are regularly reviewed and, if necessary, updated. A review of this information should take place at the same time when other data, for example contact details or demographics, are reviewed.

The purpose is two-fold; firstly, to identify whether service user’s needs have changed (such as in the level of sensory loss); and secondly, to identify whether the most appropriate method used to meet those needs has changed (through technology advances or in the service user’s access to technology). A person with some visual loss may initially request information in large print, but in future request information through email or audio format.

Read the full AIS guidance here