The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has announced a new three year partnership with CareTech Charitable Foundation.
The join-up between the two organisations aims to increase awareness and understanding of the impact of sight loss for people with learning disabilities by creating Learning Disabilities Vision Friends.
The Vision Friends project is an early intervention and prevention model of delivery and learning that aims to pioneer how sight loss is detected and managed across the care sector. Additionally, the scheme looks to create transformational sector training that will include training modules, toolkits and resources developed to be E-Learning and video meeting-centred to increase accessibility.
According to a report, 40 per cent of people in care services with learning disabilities will have some form of sight loss, whilst nearly all those with severe or profound learning disabilities have eye health needs. However, the signs can be masked by an individual’s learning disability or lack of verbal communication.
To ensure that no one slips through the cracks when it comes to sight loss support, RNIB and CareTech Foundation will aim to educate Vision Friends with the confidence, knowledge and skills to recognise signs of sight loss in the people they’re caring for.
David Clarke, Director of Services at RNIB, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with CareTech Foundation and look forward to working with them over the coming years.
“It is of vital importance that no one living with sight loss slips under the radar and that everyone gets access to the support they need. Through educating Vision Friends on the signs to recognise and how to understand the progression of sight conditions, we will be able to make a real difference to the lives of those living in care whose sight loss has not yet been diagnosed.”
Jonathan Freeman MBE, CEO of CareTech Foundation said:
“We cannot forget the challenges that those with disabilities face when they also have sight loss. In social care settings especially, this can go unnoticed. Training and awareness for staff must be implemented to address this to make sure no one slips through the cracks and proper care is given to those that need it. The Foundation is thrilled to be able to utilise our care sector expertise and resources to support Vision Friends.”
In addition to the grant-funding from the CareTech Foundation, Vision Friends will benefit from the skills and expertise of staff from CareTech plc, a market-leading provider of specialist care for children and adults with complex needs. CareTech plc staff will, as part of the company’s employee volunteering programme, will be directly involved in the development of the programme.