Visionary Briefing Special Edition- Vision Rehabilitation

Vision Rehabilitation

There have been quite a few developments within Vision Rehabilitation over the last few months, and we thought it would be useful to provide one briefing focusing specifically on Vision Rehabilitation.


RNIB Cost avoidance study

As part of the RNIB’s Department of Health funded project into Vision Rehabilitation; they have carried out a study on the impact of rehabilitation. This study has been eagerly anticipated by the sector and Visionary members, and we are pleased to say that Sight for Surrey has been the case study for this project: the RNIB CostRNIB Cost Avoidance Study


Making Rehab Work – Pilot Project

Project Summary

Making Rehab Work was a multi-agency pilot project, which explored how statutory rehabilitation services can be supported by non-statutory provision. The project was funded by Thomas Pocklington Trust, delivered by Wiltshire Sight and project managed by Visionary.

The project aimed to identify areas of rehabilitation and support that could be delivered by volunteers and employees who are not qualified Rehabilitation Officers. The project also aimed to support existing rehabilitation services to reduce waiting times, provide a consistent approach, and develop a sustainable low level rehabilitation service within the community.

A training toolkit was also provided alongside the training and findings to ensure a consistent model of delivery.


Visionary members contributed to the desktop research through a survey. The research established that there are a variety of services and support being delivered by local charities which falls outside the parameters of traditional rehabilitation contracts. The research showed that over 93% of respondents to the Visionary survey provided information, advice and guidance to friends, families and carers on how to mark equipment. This provided key information to demonstrate a need for low level training in this area of rehabilitation.

It was also established that there is no consistent training for staff and volunteers who deliver services with elements of rehabilitation within them.

Project Delivery

The training included guidance on how to mark equipment effectively at home, safely using liquid level indicators, information on basic available equipment such as communication and daily living aids. Attendees were also provided helpful references should they require any further information or support. Key sight guiding techniques were also provided, which has proven to be very affective as this training has been put into practice when working with people that they support.
Key Statistics
51 people from across Wiltshire have been trained.
71 individuals were supported as a result of this project over a 3 month period.
50 individuals had their outcomes monitored through the impact tool we devised.
95% of people accessing the project were newly diagnosed, registered or had experienced a significant life changing event in the last 3 months e.g. death of a spouse or house move.
31% of those who initially had not been referred to the local authority were referred as a direct result of the project.
72% of the individuals were waiting for an appointment with the local authority for rehabilitation support after registration and of these 100% were outside of the suggested time scales for support from the local authority.
There was a 64% increase in confidence in relation to the Seeing It My Way outcomes after this intervention.


The project aimed to look at alternative methods of rehabilitation delivery, which could compliment the statutory provision.
The project achieved its aim through the development of a training package for volunteers and non-rehabilitation qualified staff. This training package incorporated visual impairment awareness training with training on basic pieces of equipment.

Through the creation of resources aimed at non-qualified rehabilitation staff and volunteers, there is now provision for them to support people who are awaiting an assessment in relation to their visual impairment. A concurrent benefit for people who received support from trained volunteers has been the provision of information about their eye condition, and signposting and knowledge on how to access ongoing support.

Volunteers who support family members with sight loss highlighted the need for awareness training. This would assist in supporting family members to remain independent. The training would also provide an understanding of the impact that sight loss. Therefore, an additional tier of training, targeted specifically at friends and family members could be introduced as an addition tier.

Visionary will be making the resources available to its members, on the Knowledge Hub on the Visionary website. These resources can be used alongside existing visual impairment awareness training offered to staff and volunteers.


Rehab Workers Professional Network – (RWPN) News

At the recent annual seminar, 25 visually impaired workers clearly identified a number of issues which affect them in their working life, these ranged from lower confidence in professional practice following a dip in sight; managing workload, especially around software inaccessibility; lack of clear job description for support workers and vagueness in professional boundaries with support workers; poor understanding of Access to Work assessors of the Rehab role and the role of the support worker; inconsistent access to work assessments and on-going support.
It has been proposed that the sector consider what solutions can be created. These solutions will not be possible without the input of rehab workers and their managers.

RWPN are suggesting the following;
1) create a standardised job description (or small bank of them) for the role of Support Worker that we will publish on the RWPN website, to use as a template for all and that can be adapted if necessary.
2) Create guidelines, based on your experience, of how to work effectively with a Support Worker. This should provide consistent professional boundaries.
3) Create guidelines, based on your experience, of how to apply to Access to Work for support
4) Establish a 1-to-1 peer support network of visually impaired workers who can guide a worker though confidential issues such as lower confidence due to sight loss. This can be achieved through using the skills of the RWPN mentors who have sight loss as a starting point because they have received training in being a listening ear.
5) To establish a bank of people prepared to offer specific help to individuals (by phone or email) with questions relating to Access to Work assessments.
6) To work with Access to Work to try and give them a better and more unified understanding of how visual impairment may affect working practice.
7) There is scope for conference call/webinar presentations, some of which could be aimed at managers.

In order to achieve the above RWPN are putting out a request to its members and associate members.
1) Send RWPN your support worker job descriptions.
2) Send RWPN any guidelines you have developed for working with your Support Worker, these will be anonymised
3) If you are an RWPN mentor and are visually impaired, please indicate to RWPN that you are happy to be a peer mentor.
4) If you have worked with Access to Work and feel you have experience you can offer over the phone to individuals, please contact RWPN.
5) If you have had a successful encounter with Access to Work and you think there are lessons rehab workers and the RWPN can learn, pass on please inform RWPN.
6) RWPN are interested to know if an open forum on their website would be useful for discussing general topics like Access to Work for example, please contact them directly to pass on your thoughts.

Associate Membership of RWPN
The RWPN would like to make managers of rehabilitation officers aware that they can become an associate member of the organisation. This membership is available to those who manage rehabilitation officers, but are not necessarily qualified in the profession. The aim of this level of membership it to offer support to managers, by informing them of the rehabilitation role and the CPD requirements, which in turn will further enhance the support the rehabilitation workers receive.

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) RWPN
There are Orientation and Mobility CPD training sessions being held on;
21st September 2017 @ Bradbury Fields
25th September 2017 @ RNIB Bristol
10th October 2017 @ Greenock
For information on any of the above information please get in touch with the RWPN directly


Trailblazers Apprenticeship Scheme for Rehabilitation Workers

Earlier in the year the Rehabilitation Worker Apprenticeship Standard was agreed. RWPN is the proposed organisation to deliver the assessments. The next stage is to plan the method by which apprentices would be assessed. This is called the End Point Assessment (EPA) and is independent of any other assessments undertaken by the training provider throughout The EPA was shared with the employer group (including some Visionary members) for comment. The final proposal for the EPA was submitted to the government on the week commencing 24th July. There are still some significant, but not unresolvable, issues to address, so at this stage we are unable to say if the standard will be ready for September.


Welsh Rehabilitation Officers Forum

IIn Wales there are an estimated 106,000 people who have sight loss/Vision impairment, with 48 practicing Rehabilitation Officers. This is a huge number of people with a very small pool of qualified ROVI’s. This is a great concern for us and surely a greater concern for people living in Wales as numbers are expected to rise. The Welsh Rehabilitation Officers Forum (WROF) was formed in 2007. One of the key goals for WROF was for ROVI’s to meet up and discuss issues around their practice and to address these issues locally. WROF has been looking for ROVI’s to be professionally registered in line with social workers.There are 9 people on the committee and Wales is split into three regions; North, South/South East and West/South West. Each region has a representative who can communicate directly with members and feedback any concerns to the committee. Owen Williams from Wales Council for the Blind and a Visionary board member sits on the committee, providing advice and guidance.

WROF have recently put out a new constitution to be agreed on by members which is similar to RWPN and was done intentionally to aid them in joining as a UK wide professional body.

The WROF membership has been approached to become members of RWPN. This will help WROF massively by having the support of a larger professional body and if professionally registered, they would have an external organisation to monitor our CPD, fitness to practice and our professional standards.
WROF are continuing their goal for a mandatory register for ROVI’s in Wales and are exploring who would be best placed to hold the register.
WROF organised a workshop at our last AGM for feedback on training and local issues. This received a massive response and as a result WROF are planning half day regional sessions to manage better scheme/care and repair links, address professional boundaries and look at improving referral routes into rehabilitation. WROF are also planning another session with ECLOs to review referral pathways and best practice.WROF receive funds from Welsh government for training and hold a full day training annually. This year WROF are looking at either brain injury/stroke or sight loss and dementia. WROF are working closely with the Low Vision Service Wales and want to build better links in some areas.If you would like further information on any of the above


If you would like further information on Vision Rehabilitation, for example you may be interested to know how to campaign about services in your area, you are considering tendering for, or renewing a contract or would like some information on outcome measurement for Rehab please



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