Specialist Hillingdon service marks five years supporting people diagnosed with sight loss
RNIB’s Eye Care Liaison Officer has supported hundreds of patients at Hillingdon and Mount Vernon Hospitals
A specialist support worker who helps blind and partially sighted people live independently is celebrating five years providing vital support for patients in West London.
Kerry Singer is the Eye Care Liaison Officer (ECLO) at Hillingdon and Mount Vernon Hospitals in North West London. Over the past five years, she has supported hundreds of patients who have been diagnosed with sight loss in the hospitals’ eye clinics, to cope with their diagnosis and find the best technology and advice they need.
Kerry said: “As my health colleagues have a very demanding workload, my role in clinic ensures patients have time to talk through concerns around their diagnosis and have questions answered. Patients, relatives and carers are able to receive support from myself to identify any emotional and practical needs and look at services and support that may help any needs to be met.
“I feel very privileged to work for RNIB in a joint role within The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. I have really enjoyed the five years I have been in post here at Hillingdon and hope to continue being able to offer support to patients, their families and carers for many years to come.”
Kerry helps patients who attend the eye clinic from across West London, Slough, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire and refers them to a wide variety of support services, local charities and community groups. All departments across the Hillingdon Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s sites can refer patients to her and she also receives referrals from community based GPs, social prescribers and optometrists.
Kerry sees patients from just a few weeks old to those in their 100's and her support has made a huge difference to many of them.
She said: "Being able to offer timely emotional support to patients at point of a sight loss diagnosis has made a big impact on me. It can be life changing news for patients who are told they’re losing their sight, being able to provide emotional support at an early stage when patients need it in the eye clinic is really important to me"
Those who have met Kerry are often full of praise for the service. One recent patient said: “They’ve helped me put my mind at rest, they’ve been there to listen and offer advice when and where I’ve needed it. I was particularly anxious about some upcoming treatment, but they were able to talk through everything and really help me to come to terms with the procedure and everything that would happen.”
Kerry has delivered talks about the ECLO service to community groups, arranged for RNIB to run an in-person course for patients titled Living with Sight Loss at Hillingdon Hospital and has also organised patient coffee mornings. She’s also worked with the hospital’s eye clinic to help introduce large print appointment letters and get appointments sent by text.
The ECLO Service
Eye Care Laison Officers (ECLOs also known as Eye Clinic Liaison Officers) have lots of knowledge on eye conditions and on helpful local and national services. By offering dedicated individual care, ECLOs can talk to those who have been diagnosed with sight loss, or are waiting for an appointment, about their worries and give them advice on how to lessen the impact their eye condition on their daily lives. RNIB now supports more than 100 ECLOs at locations across the UK.
If you live in the area Kerry covers and need sight loss advice, you can contact her on 07864 954934 or email [email protected]. To find out more about ECLOs and how to meet with one by calling our Helpline on 0303 123 9999 (8am-8pm weekdays and 9am-1pm Saturdays).
Notes to editor
We are the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
Every six minutes, someone in the UK begins to lose their sight. RNIB is taking a stand against exclusion, inequality, and isolation to create a world without barriers where people with sight loss can lead full lives. A different world where society values blind and partially sighted people not for the disabilities they’ve overcome, but for the people they are.