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A film crew in a hospital room set with a Hijinx actor lying in a hospital bed

Cardiff & Vale University Health Board (CVUHB) & Hijinx

The Challenge

CVUHB wished to empower staff with the skills and knowledge they need to provide equitable, high-quality, and person-centred care to people with learning disabilities.

Hijinx wanted to extend its reputation as a producer of unique, first-class training relating to learning disabilities in the healthcare sector. The Company also wanted to provide paid work opportunities for its actors.

The Solution

In 2019, with funding from CVUHB and A&B Cymru’s CultureStep, Hijinx produced engaging training films with the aim of improving healthcare staff’s skills in communicating with vulnerable patients. The resulting 4 short films, featured Hijinx actors and were used to enhance CVUHB’s Equality and Diversity and Learning Disability training packages. CVUHB directly engaged Learning Disabled (LD) Champions to act as test audiences, whose feedback helped shape the final format of the films.

The Results

Behind the scenes images from the project were circulated via Hijinx’ social media accounts and through the Hijinx casting newsletter that reaches around 100 casting industry professionals each month.

The Health Board has used the films as new content to promote the LD Champion training sessions. Each session has been well attended with up to 100 staff members present.

Both organisations are hoping to roll the films out to health boards across Wales. They are also planning a launch event with a Q&A session involving the actors and key health staff. Both Hijinx and CVUHB have discussed the potential to build upon this relationship to provide more training (face to face or digitally) to CVUHB Staff to continue to improve healthcare treatment for all LD patients.

The Endorsement

The films were shown at a few sessions ahead of the pandemic and were well received by all participants. Those taking the training described them as entertaining but challenging as they recognised some of their own behaviours on screen and took away practices for better communication and care which they will spread to colleagues in their clinical areas. We anticipate that these films will be useful on a national level as every local Health Board in Wales strives to improve the care of some of the most vulnerable in society and in hospital.

Bryn Kentish, CVUHB

The benefits to Hijinx has been manifold: first, the income from this project has generated paid employment for 4 of our neurodivergent actors and 10 of our neurotypical associate artists. The partnership has enabled Hijinx to increase its influence in the Welsh healthcare sector, promoting an inclusive and highly effective way of training staff to communicate well with LD/A patients. We hope that, future promotion of the project will open further opportunities within other health boards to extend our training using Hijinx actors from around Wales, resulting in improved healthcare experiences for all LD/A adults across Wales.

Susan Kingman, Hijinx