GALLOWAY'S APPEAL: The importance of reaching out early to people with sight loss

The despair of losing your sight
The despair of losing your sight
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As the Post is running the Gallowheels campaign to raise money for a minibus, Jenny Roscow, sight loss advisor at Galloway’s, discusses the valuable work she does in reaching out to people who are feeling scared after losing their sight.

At Galloway’s, we feel that no one should face losing their sight on their own. Reaching people early in their sight loss journey seems obvious but it doesn’t always work that way; people slip through the net.

Jenny Roscow

Jenny Roscow

Unfortunately, nearly a quarter of people newly diagnosed with sight loss leave the eye clinic not knowing, or unsure of the name or nature of their eye condition.

A common thread we see in our work is the shock people with sight loss feel when medical treatment has nothing more to offer. It’s often compared with the grieving process, the feeling of loss.

Providing emotional and practical support at the right time can help people who are losing their sight to retain their independence and access the support they need; that’s why people’s experience in the eye clinic is very important.

It is here that people will be given their diagnosis and prognosis. People go to the eye clinic for treatment and monitoring, and it is here that some will be told that they have permanently lost their vision.

Eye test

Eye test

Through our work in hospitals, we bridge the gap between the clinical environment of a hospital and the practical challenges facing people living with sight loss. People tell us how much they value support particularly at this stage.

Based in local eye clinics and hospitals, our specialist staff can help anyone experiencing sight loss, whether that be the individuals themselves, or their relatives and carers. We provide emotional support and practical information when it’s needed most.

We are there right from the start, helping people to understand their eye condition and supporting them through the early stages. We provide advice about a range of practical ways for people to live with sight loss and keep their independence as well as information about registration, benefits and concessions.

We explain about the services we provide as well as and putting people in touch with other organisations that can also help.

Minibus appeal

Minibus appeal

Patients place an enormous amount of trust in our Sight Loss Advisors at a time when they feel vulnerable and frightened.

But reaching people early is much wider than just our work in the hospitals, it’s about letting people know that help is out there. This is why we try our best to be creative in the way that we promote our services.

At Galloway’s we recognise the importance of working in partnership with other professionals such as ophthalmologists, optometrists and rehabilitation officers, all crucial services to ensure blind and partially sighted people remain as independent as possible.

People use our support in many different ways; through our Living with Sight Loss courses – an introduction to the practicalities of with sight loss; our Talking Tech sessions – introducing people to the many benefits that mainstream and specialist technology can offer those living with reduced vision; a Low Vision Assessment – helping people to make the most of their remaining usable vision; or simply an appointment with one of our Sight Loss Advisors to listen to the challenges people are facing right now.

For those who don’t have the confidence to use public transport and don’t have access to their own transport, our minibuses enable us to provide that additional level of support.

Just stop and think for a minute. How would losing your sight affect your routine, your confidence and ultimately your independence?

The Post has launched a campaign - Gallowheels - in conjunction with Galloway’s to raise £50,000 for a new minibus, which would be used to transport visually impaired service users to Galloway’s appointments; other appointments; guided activities; leisure activities; holidays and day trips; and training.

The charity now needs to buy two new minibuses to keep up with demand and to support its service users.

The Post has launched a campaign - Gallowheels - in conjunction with Galloway’s to raise £50,000 for a new minibus.

For previous stories click here http://galloway-s-appeal-service-users-rely-on-minibus-to-attend-shooting-club-1-8820876
and /galloways-appeal-help-us-raise-50-000-for-charity-minibus-1-8770784
/are-you-doing-enough-to-help-protect-your-sight-1-8773040

So far, kind hearted readers have donated £5,000. Can you spare any more?

To make a donation visit www.galloways.org.uk/gallowheels; Call: 01772 744148 Text: GALL25 £amount, £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10, to 70070 or send a cheque payable to Galloway’s to: Galloway’s Society for the Blind, Howick House, Howick Park Avenue, Penwortham, PR1 0LS.