What matters to you? Person centred care when transitioning families from universal newborn hearing screening programs to audiology services

Ms Julie Castro1

 1Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program – Royal Children’s Hospital, Parkville, Australia


Each year, the Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program (VIHSP) refers over 600 infants to diagnostic audiology.

Because hearing is essential for speech and language development, an efficient referral to a paediatric audiologist is usually a key priority for the VIHSP Area Manager (AM). During the consultation with a family, the AM is normally focused on providing information supporting this referral and answering questions regarding the hearing screening pathway.

But asking families ‘What matters to you?’ – a central tenet of person centred care (National Health and Safety standards (NHSQ)) – can become an afterthought.

Opportunities exist to strengthen person centred care practices by asking the family what matters to them much earlier in the process. Hearing screening programs have the opportunity to partner with families to share and act on this information.

We propose the following strategy for increasing person centred care in this process:

  1. ‘Person centred questions’ framework for UNHS staff that acknowledge families may still be establishing what matters to them in this stage of their infant’s care
  2. Ensuring access to Person Centred Care training for UNHS staff and audiologists
  3. Standardised means of communicating person centred information between UNHS and Audiologists
  4. Strategies to ensure the necessary investment from health teams to act on this information.

This paper will provide discussion and reflection on strengthening the way UNHS engages at the point of referral to audiology – a critical step in moving to more person centred care model.


Julie Castro is a Senior Area Manager with the Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program. Julie has a background in psychology and sociology, with a keen interest in how work place culture translates into work place practice. The Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program (VIHSP) screens the hearing of newborn babies in their first weeks of life. The program aims to promote early detection and intervention to improve outcomes for babies with hearing loss.