Rehab Forum

Here you will find notes from our online Rehab Forum (held since late September), with most recent first. You will also be able to access any resources and useful documents shared from these sessions:

1 December 2020

Facilitated by Sarah Cosby, Strategic Projects Lead and Sarah Halliwell, Strategic, Partnership and Innovation Lead at Visionary

We were pleased to see so many rehab workers again at the session for an open and informal conversation on the current picture and challenges for rehab delivery. The group discussed waiting lists, the recent lockdown and new tier systems and then fact that home visits are taking place for only the most urgent cases.

The group discussed how lockdown as meant rehab workers are seeing an increase in people needing help with physical and mental wellbeing, with strength being lost due to people not being able to get out. Here is the link to the Otago audio exercise programme which all thought would be useful sharing with people struggling:

Otago audio exercise programme

Visionary will now explore the possibility of someone speaking to the group about ways of integrating physical and mental wellbeing into visits … more to follow!

For those of you who missed the conference here are the links to recordings of two sessions we thought you would find useful:

Sight Service Gateshead’s integrated Low Vision service

Bury Blind Society about their innovative approach to rehab and early intervention

The next meeting will be on Tuesday 12th January 12pm – 1pm. We hope to see you there – have a good Christmas and see you in 2021

29 September 2020

Facilitated by Sarah Cosby, Strategic Projects Lead and Sarah Halliwell, Strategic, Partnership and Innovation Lead at Visionary

Visionary shared an update on the ADASS guidance (previously circulated to this group – see ‘Resources’ below) and confirmed that RNIB have sent these to local authorities along with a letter urging local authorities to protect and raise the profile of rehab services. We asked whether all had seen this letter and whether they had received any requests for information from their local authority. No-one on the call was aware of the letter or had been asked for any information. Visionary will report this back to RNIB.

The group discussed the return to face-to-face work, sharing a very mixed picture from those organisations who have returned to regular face-to-face work and home visits to those whose management are continuing to ask that all work remains telephone based.

North East Sensory Services are today starting essential home visits and opening their centre for duty visits, so will be undertaking both inside and outside guiding for the first time this week. There was understandable anxiety about returning to home visits where they are walking into an uncontrolled environment. Those who had already started these provided reassurance on how aware everyone is being and the lifting of anxiety once you just get out there.

Martin from Wilberforce Trust shared that prior to any home visits, they undertake a telephone assessment using screening questions to check symptoms. They also then phone within 24 hours of visiting to check symptoms again. Martin is going to ask whether he can share the screening questions and protocol for disposal of PPE.

Christine from Warwick shared that they also do a call before visits and how useful this is to make the client aware of what to expect – for example, they are not allowed to sit down during the visits.

Most organisations who have returned to face-to-face work are operating as follows:

  • Undertaking all that they can over the telephone so that face-to-face visits can be focussed to only the most essential and minimising their length.
  • Minimising the number of visits undertaken per day – generally only one or two per day.
  • The wearing of PPE, all wearing masks, some also wearing goggles, aprons and gloves (debate on whether these are needed).
  • Careful cleaning of equipment between visits – use of alcohol wipes and quarantining equipment for 72 hours between visits.
  • PPE carefully disposed of following visits, go out to car and only remove there, bag up and bin securely at home and in the office.

Other organisations shared frustrations about continued lack of face-to-face work. Telephone assessments and using family and friends and support bubbles have meant good support has still been able to be provided.

The group shared the list of key equipment they take out on visits:

  • Bump ons
  • Long and cymbal cane
  • Task light
  • Communi-clock
  • Liquid level indicator
  • Daylight bulbs

The group discussed how they were addressing referrals and waiting lists. Many of those assessed pre-Covid will now have different needs. Some were managing waiting lists well while others were seeing them grow. Prioritising can be very difficult. Mike from Sight Service in the North East shared that they use a triage assessment form, but that most people come out as having urgent need.

The group shared how much they value hearing how passionate rehab workers are about what they do and to hear what others are doing.

Finally the group discussed whether they were planning for responding to second or local lockdowns. Generally, there were no firm plans they knew of, but Mike from Sight Service is currently in a local lockdown area and has continued to deliver as they were, using all of the safety procedures in place.


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