Are rehabilitation services for patients in UK eye clinics adequate? A survey of eye care professionals

Gillespie-Gallery, H; Conway, M L; Subramanian, A
October 2012
Eye;Oct2012, Vol. 26 Issue 10, p1302
Academic Journal
PurposeThe purpose of this study is to determine whether specific services such as emotional and family support are currently available in the United Kingdom for people with visual impairment.MethodsA validated online survey was created and distributed to clinical staff in eye clinics (for example, ophthalmologists and optometrists) and rehabilitation staff (for example, social and rehabilitation workers) in the community, who worked with people with visual impairment. A total of 67 clinical and 42 rehabilitation staff completed the entire survey online.ResultsOnly 67% of the respondents claimed their clinics provide emotional support and 44% of respondent's clinics provided family support. Clinical and rehabilitation staff have differences in opinion over what constitutes an essential service for a visually impaired patient. Rehabilitation staff considered emotional support and referral to social services as essential more often than clinical staff (P<0.05). There is some confusion over the type of personnel who provides each type of service, with some services showing substantial repetition.ConclusionIn the clinics sampled, there appears to be an underprovision of emotional support (attentive listening plus constructive suggestions) and family support (emotional support and advice for family members) for visually impaired patients in the United Kingdom. There also seems to be some discrepancy in services that eye care professionals feel are available and previous reports by visually impaired patients of the service they receive. There is a need to develop standardised pathways across the United Kingdom, to solve some of these issues.


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