Written by Dense McCormick - Rehabilitation Officer for Birmingham Vision.
A friend of Bill’s contacted me and asked if I could help him regarding his sight loss. I telephoned Bill to arrange a home visit to carry out an assessment of needs, wants and how to achieve successful outcomes by setting up a rehabilitation programme.
Bill lives in Staffordshire with his wife, two sons and young daughter. He is employed by a large organisation as an office clerk/administrator. Duties include checking in/out deliveries of goods, computer work, telephone communications etc.
During my first visit, Bill informed me that in the past he had been to a local hospital regarding his eyesight but was discharged. He had continued to see his local optician in the meantime. Whilst discussing options, Bill was very emotional and stated his life was in turmoil. As I listened to Bill and completed my assessment form it was obvious that he needed a range of help and support.
In the first instance, I advised him to visit his GP and request to be referred to Good Hope Hospital Eye Department. We engaged in discussions regarding the rehabilitation I was able to offer which includes orientation & mobility, daily living skills and referrals to Focus Birmingham for emotional support including counselling. Bill stated that his first priority was the difficulty he was finding at work and mentioned that his colleagues were making remarks about his work. It was clear that they did not understand the difficulty he was having due to his sight loss.
Bill had arranged a meeting with his site manager and myself to discuss his issues at work. Sight loss awareness training using simulation specs replicating his vision was given to the manager and a few of his colleagues. We received positive feedback, in that they did not understand how Bill had been struggling; he even received personal apologies from members of staff. During a one to one meeting I explained how Bill might benefit from using specialist equipment which would enable him to work competently by helping with vision impairment. I made a referral on his behalf to HumanWare who specialise in this kind of assistive technology.
Now Bill was feeling positive and confident to proceed further with the plan of action for rehabilitation. This included Orientation & Mobility sessions consisting of mobility cane training, orientation of different places and adjusting to environmental factors, travelling on buses etc. Bill is now a competent and independent traveller. Daily Living Skills sessions also took place, this saw Bill learning the correct techniques and adapting his skills when making hot & cold drinks, preparing snacks and cooking a meal for himself or his family independently. Bill was also referred to Action for Blind People who supported him with an application for Personal Independence Payments, disability allowance, a fire safety check for the home. I also assisted Bill to apply for a Guide Dog, Disabled Blue Badge, Blinds Person’s Tax Allowance, Disabled bus pass and a Television Licence.
This case shows how intervention of a Rehabilitation programme can change the life of an individual for the better, both at home and work.