Once your local authority or Health and Social Care Trust are made aware that you may have a need for care and support, they have a legal duty to carry out an assessment. Before this happens you may be offered support by a "Sensory Impairment Team" at the local authority or health and social care trust, which can provide sight loss specific support, such as visual impairment rehabilitation.
Vision rehabilitation is a period of training delivered by Rehabilitation Officers, often called ROVIs. It's designed to help people with sight loss maintain their independence through relearning practical daily and mobility skills.
It can also include providing community equipment and minor adaptations where appropriate such as:
- magnification software
- screen readers
- white canes
- gadgets for the kitchen
- tactile watches and alarm clocks
- telephones with a large colour-contrasting keypad.
Minor adaptations include things such as:
- grab rails
- lever taps
- non slip flooring
In England, local authorities have a legal obligation under the Care Act 2014 to help people with sight loss develop practical skills and strategies to maintain independence, including:
- at least 6 weeks of free vision rehabilitation
- free community equipment, including minor adaptations to the home where this costs £1000 or less.
If you are based in England and are having difficulties accessing this support then please read and complete our toolkit:
Staying independent (England) (Word)
If you are based in Wales, you also have a legal right to free rehabilitation services for at least the first 6 weeks, but you may be means-tested for contributions towards any community equipment or adaptations you are assessed as needing. If you are having difficulties accessing rehabilitation, you may wish to use our template precedent letter to complain to the council regarding this:
Accessing rehabilitation template letter (Wales) (Word)
In Scotland there is not a legal right relating to free rehabilitation but there is guidance recommending its provision and so in practice this will often be available free of charge. If you are having difficulties accessing rehabilitation, you may wish to use our template precedent letter to complain to the council regarding this:
Accessing rehabilitation template letter (Scotland) (Word)