Are You Doing Enough to Support Your Visually Impaired Service Users?

Sight loss and poor eye health frequently contribute to the loss of independence and reduced quality of life that many people experience as they age.

For older people with poor vision living in care homes, the support provided by care staff is often the single biggest factor in maintaining a degree of independence so it’s essential that your staff have a good knowledge and awareness of the problems encountered by people with poor sight and the steps they can take to maximise independence.

This year’s National Eye Health Week is less than a month away and provides the perfect opportunity to share ideas and good practice about sight loss with the whole of your team. Read on to find out more about National Eye Health Week and the useful tips you can implement within your service.

Raise Awareness of Sight Loss

This year’s National Eye Health Week 2018 begins on 24th September and aims to build on the success of the 2017 campaign, which saw thousands of healthcare professionals and organisations taking part. Every organisation participating in this year’s event will play a part in raising awareness of eye health and the risk of sight loss, as well as showing to the public their commitment to good practice. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to show your service in a positive light and improve the care you provide to your service users.

Show Your Commitment to National Eye Health Week 2018 by Implementing these 4 Simple Measures 

  1. Ensure that every service user has access to an eye test: Enabling your service users to undergo an eye test at least every 2 years (more frequently in high risk groups) is an essential part of their care. Even for those who, due to frailty or dementia, are unable to participate in a full eye test, examination by an optician will help identify any eye conditions and prevent potential sight loss.
  2. Implement vision care plans: Whether a service user has severe visual impairment or just wears glasses for reading, it’s important to make sure this is recorded in their care plan along with any steps needed to support them. Ensuring that all staff know simple measures such as which glasses need to be worn and when, or that additional lighting is needed in the evening can promote independence, prevent falls and encourage confidence.
  3. Provide support with visual aids: Making sure that glasses are cleaned regularly, well maintained and comfortable to wear will ensure that your service users receive the greatest possible benefit from them. Other aids such as reading lamps or magnifiers should be checked regularly to ensure they are in good condition and able to be used easily.
  4. Appoint a sight loss champion: By creating this role for a member of your team, you can highlight the importance of providing support with vision. Your sight loss champion can encourage awareness of practical steps listed above, provide sight loss training to new staff and audit care plans to ensure they reflect the needs of your service users.

Visual impairment and other common conditions in care service users are regular topics in Care Quality Matters. Every month, we provide best practice advice for care managers – to help make sure you pass your CQC inspections. To learn more about Care Quality Matters, click here.

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