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.
For several years we have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council through its Sensory Needs Service. Our collaboration continues to go from strength to strength. It all started with their team manager, Julie Ralph and her colleague Margaret Hird sampling our training which at the time was through our In Good Hands project. Bradford then commissioned us to deliver training to their teams on site including to some of their colleagues from neighbouring local authorities.
Recently two very exciting developments are taking shape. We both agree on the vital importance of local authorities being deafblind aware across a broad range departments and services, not just sensory services. But these are lean times with budget cuts severely limiting the ambitions of nearly every local authority in the land.
So to spread the training throughout Bradford City Council, we trained and mentored some of their sensory team who have now started to deliver our courses on their site. This work is done under a licence with us and all resources remain our copyright. We observe and monitor quality. Secondly we have been supporting them with their own first deafblindness e-learning course to further spread the awareness training across the Council.
Great to see ongoing positive feedback from our training participants. We learn a lot from our courses through our interactions with participants who come from a wide cross-section of the health care and social care fields.
Colleagues from the fields of sensory loss support and acquired communications disorders are always generous in their sharing of experience and expertise whilst on our courses – thanks to all!
Our aim is to build capacity of others to support older people with acquired dual sensory loss. A key element of this is the provision of our unique accredited training.
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.
Hi-VisUK will be taking over much of the pioneering work of In Good Hands, our sister deafblind support project.
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.
To be successful at Hi-VisUK we will constantly work to raise our profile at a local and regional level (as well as nationally). Opportunity to talk with other local disability organisations, national manufacturers and suppliers of aids and equipment is one part of a complex jigsaw of supporting organisations – who all need to know more about age acquired deafblindness. It is also an opportunity to meet older people with deafblindness who visited such events as photographed above.
One example of how we connect people and organisations is when celebrating Older People’s Day. It is these themed events that create important opportunities to bring deafblindness into the ageing agenda.
Under the Care Act 2014 any older person who appears to have a need for support has the right to request a care eligibility assessment from their local authority. For an older person experiencing both a sight and a hearing loss, regardless of severity, they have the right to ask for a specialist deafblind assessment. As mentioned elsewhere on our site identifying people with deafblindness is very challenging because so few organisations and professionals understand it or what it looks like. and consequently most older people with the condition are not on anyone’s radar.
It is not uncommon for older people to go for months and even years between checks on their hearing aids pr the health pf their eyes and the quality of their vision.