“Game-changer” for sight loss?

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There have been several reports in the press and media about a significant breakthrough regarding stem cells in the treatment of age related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is the single biggest form of sight loss in older people affecting over 600,000 people in the UK and is the most prevalent eye condition associated with acquired deafblindness.

The promise this treatment offers is beyond calculation in terms of the benefits to older people with regard to quality of life and mental wellbeing. And the positive impact it will have on their confidence to stay mobile, communicate and access information.

Click this link for an article on the: BBC News website. Or search most of the national dailies and science and health journals websites for more information. Stem cell work has recently been described as a game changer for people with Multiple Sclerosis (click here). The same can surely be said for people with AMD.

Hi-VisUK in Cornwall

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Since January this year Hi-VisUk has been in Cornwall working with the local authority on the specialist adult deafblindness aspects of the Care Act. This includes our unique training and qualifications for staff to increase an authority’s capacity to meet their duties regarding deafblind adults. Part of a three-year contract secured by Hi-VisUK, this will see us training hundreds of staff across the county.

This builds on our groundbreaking work in Hartlepool with the local authority and local providers.  It also complements our work ongoing with Bradford council’s sensory support services. Our work with all local authorities across England continues to grow alongside and partly through our partnership with the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) with whom we jointly arrange open-course social-care training on age related deafblindness and the Care Act.

Staying in touch

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Our staff make it a priority to meet as many older people as possible living with dual sensory loss each year where there is no organisation in an area to do this vital work.

Intergenerational awareness

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Hi-VisUK will be taking over much of the pioneering work of In Good Hands, our sister deafblind support project.

Listening to older people

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Hi-VisUK has volunteers trained in interview skills to support our research and evaluation evaluation activities.

Combating isolation

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Hi-VisUK brings older people living with dual sensory loss together throughout the year. They come from all corners and include their carers and communicator guides.

Strong foundations

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Hartlepool Borough Council is a key partner with Hi-VisUK in the development of a new pioneering co-production model for identification and support of older people living with dual sensory loss.

Capacity building

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Hi-VisUK will continue the investment by our sister project, In Good Hands, to build the capacity of Sunderland and North Durham Royal Society for the Blind to become a dual sensory service for their members and local older people in Sunderland and north County Durham.

Their volunteers and staff are being supported with training in deafblind awareness and how to use our identification tool. This will enable them to identify older people with the condition and provide appropriate support.

Older people identified as having a dual sensory loss will be supported by the Society’s volunteers and where appropriate by HiVisUK staff to ensure they get the appropriate response from other local service providers.

This is one of our unique capacity building models that Hi-VisUK will promote across the country.

Supporting World Mental Health Day

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Hi-VisUK will continue to support World Health Day in the coming years. Last year our sister project, In Good Hands, attended World Mental Health Day celebrations in Hartlepool. This is part of our ongoing development of strategic and practical links in the borough as part of a planned Hi-VisUK & Hartlepool Borough Council (HBC) collaboration.

Making every contact count

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Hi-VisUK will be taking on the baton from our sister project In Good Hands to Make Every Contact Help in the health services arena. This provides a great opportunity to strengthen Hi-VisUK links with a wide range of health and wellbeing stakeholders, everyone from local authority meals services to community fire safety services.