Additional support for patients experiencing sight loss03/12/2018

PHOTO: Eye clinic liaison officer Hannah Keegan outside the pod at Royal Hampshire County Hospital

Patients experiencing sight loss are getting additional support thanks to a partnership between Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

Hannah Keegan is an eye clinic liaison officer (ECLO) employed by RNIB and funded by Simplyhealth. She works across all three of the hospitals run by the Trust, providing practical and emotional support to anyone affected by sight loss.

“I am available to work with anyone with sight loss, but I have a particular focus on early intervention,” Hannah said. “I refer people to the wide range of services provided by RNIB as well as sensory teams, counselling and other charities who can support them. I’m also available to speak to the friends, family and carers of patients dealing with sight loss.”

Simplyhealth has also provided funding for a special pod, allowing Hannah to carry out consultations in the outpatient department at Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester.

Hannah said: “I enjoy interacting with people face to face. It’s really good to have my own dedicated space to talk to people and it’s nice to know that patients are leaving the clinic knowing exactly where they can go to for help.

“It’s a drop-in service, with consultants normally letting patients know where I am during outpatient appointments, but I can be booked in to work with patients on the wards as well.”

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester, and Andover War Memorial Hospital, said: “Losing your sight can be a very difficult and scary experience, so I’m delighted that we are able to provide this extra support to people going through it.

“It’s fantastic that we have Hannah available to give practical advice, guidance and ongoing emotional help in addition to the expertise and support provided by our specialist ophthalmologists. I would like to say a big thank you to RNIB and Simplyhealth for their support and for the funding that allows us to provide this service.”

David Clarke, director of services at RNIB, said: “Having an ECLO like Hannah is one of the best ways a hospital can support its eye clinic patients.

“ECLOs are key in helping patients understand the impact of their diagnosis and providing them with emotional and practical support for their next steps. We’re delighted to be working with Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to ensure this service is available across all three of their hospitals thanks to the support of Simplyhealth.”