Hospital therapists to undergo innovative sight loss training programme

Therapists at Southampton’s university hospitals have teamed up with charity Guide Dogs to develop skills to help them assist blind and partially sighted patients and visitors. 

In an event today (Thursday), staff at Southampton General Hospital will undergo a three-hour training session to educate them in how to approach someone with sight loss and provide guiding assistance.

The programme, known as My Guide, is a service provided by Guide Dogs and involves giving volunteers and service providers the skills to help people with sight loss get back into the community.

During the session, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and therapy assistants at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust will gain an understanding of sight loss and learn about recommended guiding techniques.

They will also experience being guided under blindfold.

“I am delighted the therapy department has joined forces with Guide Dogs to undergo this very important package of training,” said Mandy Pike, musculoskeletal therapy manager at UHS.

“As a visually impaired person myself, I know how daunting it can be going somewhere new or into a busy environment so, wherever possible, we want to alleviate those concerns for our inpatients, outpatients and visitors.

“It is important that, alongside our day-to-day work, we think about how to improve services further for all of our patients and this innovation will ensure people with sight loss receive the right support from the moment they arrive at hospital.”

Natalie Edwards, My Guide Ambassador for southern England and the Channel Islands, added: “The training will give the participants a greater awareness of sight loss, the confidence to approach someone and give high quality sighted guiding assistance.

“As a result, it will enhance the experience for people with sight loss across the hospital.”

The training event will take place from 1pm to 4pm in the therapy department (level B) at Southampton General Hospital.

For more information on the service, visit www.guidedogs.org.uk/services/my-guide.

Posted on Thursday 4 June 2015