New framework shows commissioners low vision and rehabilitation best practice
Tuesday, 10 October 2017
The new Low vision, habilitation and rehabilitation framework for adults and children will help commissioners understand what good practice should look like and inform their decisions when planning services.
The new guidance, produced by the Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning, aims to ensure a high quality of low vision habilitation and rehabilitation services (LVHRS) across England.
The framework states, "The current system of LVHRS is fragmented and more joined-up commissioning is needed to ensure consistency of services for users, and the avoidance of a postcode lottery. In some areas, services do not exist and the population need has not been assessed."
“The framework will also be useful for other allied health professionals working with older people and people with disabilities, who might be less aware of the benefits of low vision than they are the benefits of rehabilitation. This document will help them see how the services can work together. The more people who know what good low vision habilitation and rehab looks like, the more chance pressure can be applied to commissioners to approve low vision services.”
What is a low vision assessment?
When a person’s sight cannot be improved through new glasses, contact lenses, or medical or surgical treatment, they could benefit from low vision, habilitation or rehabilitation support.
A low vision assessment will help identify what support is needed. The assessment should be carried out by a low vision professional (typically an optometrist, orthoptist or specialist dispensing optician). In the assessment they will:
assess what activities the person finds difficult, what tasks they need more help with and what situations cause them to be at risk of accident or injury due to their sight loss
prescribe suitable magnifying devices, lighting and other equipment which will help them most. The person will be given a chance to try them out and the low vision professional will train them to use the equipment
discuss other support services that are available and other strategies that might help such as RNIB Talking Books and eccentric viewing techniques.
Visit the Sightline Directory to find low vision support near you. Alternatively, email RNIB’s low vision team for advice about finding your local low vision service and find out what questions people should ask in the appointment.