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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:

  • 74,624 individuals affected by sight loss were supported by an RNIB ECLO
  • This figure includes 13,603 relatives and carers
  • 63,095 total instances of information provided.

Additional reach

  • 19,246 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.
  • 96 per cent of clinic staff agreed that the ECLO service improves patient experience through the provision of timely, accessible, person-centred information and support.
  • 76 per cent of clinic staff agreed that the ECLO Service reduces the amount of time they would otherwise need to spend with patients.
  • Without an ECLO, 70 per cent of patients would have contacted the hospital, optician, or GP for support, thus putting additional pressure on these services.
  • 89 per cent of patients reported either being very well informed, or well informed about support available after visiting an ECLO.
  • When discussed, 83 per cent of patients said they had a better understanding of their eye condition, and 81 per cent said that they were more aware of how to properly care for and treat their eye condition after speaking to an ECLO.
  • 92 per cent of eye clinicians surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that the ECLO service is supportive of the CVI process in the clinic.
  • 33 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.
  • 74 per cent of patients were put in touch with or informed of services outside of the hospital.
  • 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.
  • 93 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.
  • Monitoring data shows that during 46 per cent of patient enquiries (17404), emotional support was provided by the ECLO.
  • 89 per cent of patients reported that they feel more confident to ask for help when they need it as a result of seeing an ECLO.
  • ECLOs help reduce pressure on medical services, as well as potentially relieving the burden on family and carers of patients.