A Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) service which provides emotional and practical support to people newly diagnosed with sight loss has received a funding boost from Simplyhealth.
The funding will support the extension of 2 RNIB Eye Care Liaison Officer (ECLO) posts in Portsmouth and on the Isle of Wight.
This funding means that the Isle of Wight ECLO service, which is based in St Mary’s Hospital in Newport, and supports over 22,000 patients has been extended from part-time to full-time, while the Portsmouth service in Queen Alexandra Hospital, which supports 47,000 patients, can continue on a 5-day basis.
An ECLO offers support and advice in areas including independent living, returning to work, benefit entitlements, use of technology, emotional support, and coping at home. ECLOs also give patients and their families the opportunity to talk about the impact of a sight loss diagnosis on their lives and to help those patients make informed choices about how to maximise their independence when living with sight loss.
Laura Gooljar, RNIB ECLO at St Mary’s Hospital, has said:
“I understand that if someone is told their sight is deteriorating, it’s life-changing news. This applies to those with long-standing sight loss or newly diagnosed. My role is about reassuring the patient that they’re not alone and helping them get the right support and information in a timely manner to enable them to remain independent. I am looking forward to providing a greater level of support and advice, helping more people than before.”
Dr Sneh Khemka, Chief Executive Officer at Simplyhealth, adds:
“We are driven by our long-standing purpose to improve access to healthcare for all in the UK. We are proud to fund this extension to RNIB’s ECLO service, which will help to reduce waiting times for patients and enable many more people dealing with sight loss to access the help and support they need.”
To find out more information about ECLOs, visit RNIB’s website at www.rnib.org.uk/eclo.
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