The importance of vision rehabilitation as a preventative service which enables blind and partially sighted people to maintain independence and wellbeing is well understood within the social care and support sector. Vision rehabilitation provides expert advice to blind and partially sighted people on how to maintain and live in their home safely, and equips them with the crucial daily living and mobility skills they need to get out and about with safety and confidence and participate in community life. It can also prevent, reduce or delay the need for more costly care and support. (1)
Like many aspects of social care, vision rehabilitation has had to adjust to managing the impact of COVID-19 on both clients and staff while providing much needed care and support. Teams have worked hard to implement solutions which meet client needs to the best extent given restrictions in place, whilst protecting the health of both client and staff. And, as with other social care services, discussions and planning need to begin about how to provide support within the ongoing COVID-19 environment, including those which require home visits.
Through the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) Physical and Sensory Impairment (PSI) network the Rehabilitation Workers Professional Network supported by RNIB, Guide Dogs, Visionary and Thomas Pocklington Trust has developed practical interim guidance to support with this. This guidance is intended to help service managers and staff to review and implement as appropriate, recognising the risks posed by COVID-19, balanced against the risks associated with delays to clients not receiving vital vision rehabilitation support.
We would ask that you please share this guidance with your teams as a useful tool for planning of service delivery in this evolving situation.
As this is a developing position the ADASS PSI network would welcome feedback on this guidance which could feed into revisions before finalising and seeking formal ADASS endorsement. To provide feedback by 30 September please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org