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RNIB backs rehabilitation campaign

We’re supporting the Community Rehabilitation Alliance (CRA)’s call for a national strategy for rehabilitation, and for rehabilitation services to be fully restarted and protected.

We’re concerned about the growing need for vision rehabilitation services, in particular, as reported by the Rehabilitation Workers Professional Network. Demand for a range of rehabilitation services is likely to grow over coming months, because reduced access during coronavirus has left many people managing long-term conditions and disabilities without essential support. 

At the same time, effective rehabilitation services will be crucial for many people recovering from COVID-19. It’s therefore vital to make sure these services are properly equipped and resourced.

Raising rehabilitation with the Government

In a letter to Jo Churchill, Minister for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care, the CRA makes clear that rehabilitation is “a pillar of essential support for those with long-term or progressive conditions, physical injuries and poor mental health” and it calls for a national strategy for rehabilitation. It also calls for rehabilitation professionals to be protected from redeployment unless absolutely necessary. 

The importance of vision rehabilitation

Vision rehabilitation provides expert advice and training, for people with sight loss to learn essential skills to live safely at home, and to get out and about with confidence. It enables blind and partially sighted people to maintain their independence and wellbeing. 

Some examples at home include relearning to prepare food, make hot drinks and use computers. Outside the home, skills like learning routes and long cane training can enable people to make independent journeys again. Without vision rehabilitation, people are left at greater risk of accident or injury, and of developing greater care needs.

Lack of support must be addressed

Sarah Lambert, RNIB’s Head of Social Change, said: "Blind and partially sighted people have told us how the impact of coronavirus restrictions has left them feeling less confident and independent."

RNIB is adding its voice to the call for a National Strategy for Rehabilitation, so that people impacted by the first wave of coronavirus don’t suffer from further lack of support. People with ongoing COVID and non-COVID rehabilitation needs should be able to access this support when they need it.