In 2021-2 we started making links with community groups to better understand their experiences of health and social care services and any issues that are important. We came found that there was a need to better understand support services available in Wandsworth and that we needed to launch a survey to collect views from people about their experiences.
What we did
We developed an anonymous survey to ask people affected by sight loss about their experiences of using health and care services. The survey was hosted online and was promoted to local community groups as well as via our newsletter and website. We surveyed 24 people with different sight loss conditions via an online survey, during telephone interviews and in face-to-face conversations. We also held a workshop of interested people.
Key findings and recommendations
The people we talked to had various conditions that had led to different types of sight loss at different stages in their life. Slight loss is not the only medical issue for the people we spoke to and many people told us about different support that they get and other health and social care needs they have that need be addressed in appropriate ways, taking into account the sight loss.
More can be done about the following to increase access to support to meet people’s needs in the following ways:
- Information provision and general ‘paperwork’ needs to be provided in accessible formats and/or support needs to be provided.
- Explore opportunities to reduce loneliness and isolation and improve independence and access to support and contact with people in the community. Barriers to accessing technology and digital support may need to be understood further as well as potential digital solutions.
- People with sight loss should be listened to about their needs as experts on what will work for them and how. Sight loss is a very personal experience. Clinicians and others should not make assumptions. We heard about a varied experience in accessing services and the attitudes and knowledge of staff in how they support people.
What happens next
We will use the findings to inform our work in the next year, particularly around access to digital support and mental health wellbeing.
Support for people with sight loss currently available in Wandsworth:
Here are just a few services available to support people.
Wandsworth could may be able to help with support and advice, such as an assessment to identify any needs you may have, specialist equipment, a rehabilitation service, information on local clubs and organisations. Find out more here.
The Wandsworth Vision Support Service (WVSS) is a free specialist service provided by Wandsworth for children and young people aged 0-25 with vision impairment who live or go to school in Wandsworth. Find out more here.
Blindaid provide a sight support service and have a new service to partner people with local volunteers. Find out more here.
The RNIB offer support in many different ways, including advice, reading services and an online radio. Find out more here.
The Macular Society provide support for people with macular disease. Find out more here. There are also local support groups.
AbilityNet has free online resources and community volunteers to help people with any disability to use digital technology. Find out more here.