My name is Jessica Price and I am the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Emotional Support Worker Coordinator and Eye Clinic Liaison Officer for Moorfields East which comprises six satellite sites – Mile End Hospital, Barking Hospital, Loxford Polyclinic, St Ann’s Hospital, Sir Ludwig Guttman Health and Wellbeing Centre and Darrent Valley Hospital.
I applied for this position because I wanted to help and support people who were on a sight loss journey. My aim is to empower patients by providing them with the information and support they need and, the listening ear they may require, while ensuring that they know that whatever stage of their journey they are at, there is support available to them, both locally and nationally.
I started in this role in October 2015 and the support I provide ranges from: arranging social support, mobility training, signposting to local support groups, charitable organisations and befriending schemes, as well as providing emotional support to patients.
The response from staff has been fantastic, with over 200 patients referred for support between November 2015 and June 2016. In March 2016, I began managing the Certificate of Vision Impairment across Moorfields East and have worked alongside the hospital consultants to ensure all those eligible for registration are offered it.
Supporting six sites is a challenging task and I am fortunate to have a trained team of volunteer emotional support workers helping me. These volunteers are provided and trained by the Thomas Pocklington Trust. They began supporting the clinics in January this year and I now have 34 volunteers supporting patients across the six sites. My aim is to have a total of 44 volunteer emotional support workers. Between January and June 2016, the team of volunteers has helped 1,075 patients and the feedback received from patients and staff has highlighted how valuable this service is proving.
More recently, I have begun arranging ‘patient information days’ and demonstration stands across the six sites as a way of educating patients about their eye condition and the support services available to them. For National Glaucoma Awareness Week, I arranged a demonstration area at three of our sites which was supported by guests from the International Glaucoma Association and assistive technology demonstrators from the Thomas Pocklington Trust and East London Vision. More patient information days are planned, the next event being in aid of Diabetes Awareness Week.
In my first eight months, I have been able to reassure patients that Moorfields will go above and beyond to support each individual medically, psychologically and emotionally. It may only be a small step in each patients journey but I believe every bit of support will contribute to helping them regain their independence, confidence and adapt to living with sight loss.
Here are some of the comments from patients on the service...
I struggled going to my local shops alone, but after having mobility training with the sensory team I now have the confidence to go daily.
My mum has always been an independent lady, but due to her sight loss has needed to rely on the family a lot more. By informing her on visual aids, technology to help at home she is taking the first steps in becoming independent again.
Very helpful team, able to offer a great team of support to patients.
It’s great to have this service
Moorfields Eye Hospital remains most grateful to Moorfields Eye Charity and the generosity of the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust whose continuing generosity has played such a key role in the development of an integrated patient support service at Moorfields Eye Hospital.