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Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) service UK Evaluation Report

Eye Clinic Liaison Officers (ECLOs) are situated in eye clinics to provide emotional and practical support at the point of need for all patients living with an eye condition and their family, friends and carers. ECLOs are knowledgeable about eye conditions and local and national support services. They offer dedicated individual care and act as an important bridge between health care and social services. ECLOs are a crucial part of RNIB’s Sight Loss Advice Service.

Our report found that between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021 there were 94 RNIB ECLOs supporting patients across 89 Eye Departments. This includes 13 RNIB Locum ECLOs who ensure that the service provision is continuous

Those affected by sight loss

Monitoring data revealed that:

  • 44,895 patient enquiries were supported by an RNIB ECLO.
  • 53 per cent of ECLO patients are aged 75 years or over.
  • 21 per cent of ECLO patients are recorded as having co-morbidities
  • ECLOs supported a further 11,679 relatives and carers during this time.
  • 63,095 total instances of information provided
  • Despite many services being closed, or changed due to the pandemic during the year, ECLOs were able to make 20561 referrals onto further support for patients.

Additional reach

  • 9,000 professionals received quick advice or information from an ECLO to support them in their role or to assist patients in their care.

Summary of findings

  • Patients are provided with timely, helpful, and clear information about a wide range of topics, including support services, eye health and benefits entitlements through the ECLO.
  • 94 per cent of patients reported either being very well informed, or well informed about support available after visiting an ECLO.
  • When discussed, 88 per cent of patients said they had a better understanding of their eye condition after speaking to an ECLO, and 77 per cent of clinicians agree.
  • 32 per cent of certifications were initiated by the ECLO. Those patients may not have otherwise accessed statutory support that makes such a difference in enabling individuals to live independent and fulfilling lives.
  • ECLOs play an important role in signposting, referring, and facilitating access to appropriate services that meet a patient’s needs.
  • 86 per cent of patients were put in touch with or informed of services outside of the hospital.
  • 92 per cent of clinicians surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that patients receive additional support from a range of service providers through contact with the ECLO.
  • 77 per cent of patients would not have accessed relevant support outside the hospital without the ECLO.
  • The ECLO provides a vital emotional support role and helps patients to start to come to terms with their situation, whether that be a new diagnosis or deterioration of an existing eye condition.
  • 74 per cent of patients reported that their emotional wellbeing had increased as a result of seeing an ECLO.
  • 94 per cent of clinicians confirmed that the ECLO service provides additional emotional support for patients that clinical staff do not have the capacity to offer.
  • ECLOs help reduce pressure on medical services, as well as potentially relieving the burden on family and carers of patients.
  • 95 per cent of clinicians strongly agreed or agreed that the ECLO service fills a gap in support which would otherwise not be offered.
  • 82 per cent of clinicians strongly agreed or agreed that the efficient running of the eye clinic is enhanced by the ECLO.