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Partnership working is an eye opener

01 Nov 2012 13:16:42

Rotherham Health experts have forged a flourishing partnership to help reduce falls and fracture risk.

The Eye Care and Falls and Fracture Prevention teams at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust (TRFT) have explored the link between visual impairment and falls to make numerous improvements to services for Rotherham patients.

The team, which works predominantly in the Rotherham community, has linked up with Clair Sharpe, Eye Clinic Liaison Officer, who works for Action for Blind People part of the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) Group.

12-week exercise and education programmes are run for patients at risk of, or with experience of a fall or fracture. This covers issues including managing fears around falling, the importance of relaxation and sleep and home hazards. The sessions now include a module, led by Clair, on the benefits of good eye health and eye care.

Day-to-day, Clair is based within the Ophthalmology department at Rotherham Hospital, supporting patients with a visual impairment by providing information, advice and guidance on services and emotional support to newly diagnosed patients. Clair, who is contracted through Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, works primarily with Consultant Ophthalmologists, GP’s and the council’s Sensory Team, bringing together health and social care services to support patients and provide early intervention.

Clair said: "The reaction from patients at the additional session on eye care has been fantastic. Participants of the group have been really vocal about how the information benefits them and have been very engaging in the sessions. I am in no doubt that our patients now feel more confident and, in turn, this is having a great impact on reducing the likelihood of them having a fall".

Michelle Morgan, Advanced Therapy Practitioner for the Trust’s Falls and Fracture Service, added: "Working alongside Clair has been a very positive learning curve. Before Clair’s input some of our patients must have felt lost. There is now a massive demand for our service and we can now work together to tailor sections of our session to the specific needs of the group."

One particular class, which Clair has co-facilitated with Julie Cook (Therapy Practitioner) and Dianne Middleton (Support Worker), involved patients, all of who showed improvements with their balance, mobility and confidence. Over 90% of these patients plan to attend further community led sessions to continue to develop their strength and confidence and further reduce the likelihood of them being injured by a fall.


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