Evidence-based improvements in supporting independence and wellbeing of patients with visual impairment

VERU's in-depth research has highlighted aspects of everyday living which present problems to those with visual impairment and factors which exacerbate these difficulties. Now identified, these factors can be addressed in a number of ways.
 The research has benefited both the low vision community and health/social services planners by highlighting the factors that affect independence, safety and wellbeing, as well as increasing independent living among the visually impaired. The development of new strategies which we have pursued during our research to help the visually impaired is being tested by the local and wider community in collaboration with the NHS and Cam Sight.

Improved care in the Visually Impaired

The identification of parameters that cause difficulties in patients with visual impairment and factors which exacerbate these difficulties led to new and refined rehabilitation protocols. Direct involvement with rehabilitation workers in Cam Sight facilitated improved patient care as a result of modified protocols for rehabilitation. It also identified a further need to train healthcare/support professionals to identify and manage depression in visually impaired patients and to evaluate the effectiveness of local emotional support services to the visually impaired.

The improved rehabilitation strategy that has been adopted by care workers in Cam Sight for the visually impaired has:

  • Established that patient self-reporting of difficulties by a visually impaired patient may not be a reliable indicator of their task difficulty. This has led to a more realistic and 'objective assessment tool' to be employed alongside the self report of difficulties process
  • Shown the importance of assessing non-visual factors such as psychosocial parameters including depression when assessing the 'needs profile' of the visually impaired patient
  • Provided a better and more useful tool to assess the adaptation to visual loss
  • Enabled patients/support workers to take into account factors that would influence how quickly they adapted to their visual loss and to lead independent lives
  • Improved patients' understanding of what affects their performance when carrying out everyday activities such as supermarket shopping and going up the steps et
  • Improved the legibility of pharmacy medicine labels in high street practices