With 'Sight after Sixty' a major focus for this year's National Eye Health Week (22nd - 28th September), the sight loss charity Thomas Pocklington Trust is offering free training to local sight loss societies to enable them to deliver a specially designed sight loss awareness workshop to local care homes. The aim is to improve the ways in which care homes respond to sight loss and, at the same time, forge better links between communities and care homes.

"Our research shows that in busy care homes, staff can easily overlook the impact of sight loss and the need to support residents to have their eyes tested, to wear the correct glasses, and to make the most of their sight in everyday activities. Now - with the help of local sight loss societies - we are offering a workshop that can change that," said Pamela Lacy, Research and Dissemination Manager at Thomas Pocklington Trust. "Giving care home staff a better understanding of sight loss could help to prevent falls and lead to improvements in residents' health and wellbeing,"

Around half of care home residents have sight loss and previous research shows that often simple measures can help them in daily activities. The new workshop, called 'Looking Out For Sight', aims to help care home staff to recognise sight loss and to bring in those measures that can make life easier for residents with impaired vision.

It was specially designed to respond to the pressures on care home staff and is therefore just 30 minutes long. Tools, such as simulation spectacles, are used to give staff some insight into what it is like to have sight loss. These reduce the wearer's vision so that even simple tasks such as walking the length of a room become difficult. The workshop explains the problems faced by people with sight loss and demonstrates simple solutions including the use of readily available resources, e.g. good lighting, Talking Books, a wall clock with 'large print' numbers. Such measures are relatively easy for care homes to introduce and can make a big difference to residents with sight loss, improving their day-to-day lives.

The workshop is the culmination of research and development led by Thomas Pocklington Trust to improve awareness of, and support for, sight loss in care homes. Pocklington hopes that it will lead to homes seeking more in-depth training as part of an ongoing working relationship with their local sight loss societies.

Members of local sight loss societies are invited to attend a free one-day event to find out more about the 'Looking Out for Sight' workshop.

There are currently four events planned. These will be held in:

  • Birmingham - 16 October 2014
  • London - 6 November 2014
  • Bristol - 20 November 2014
  • Preston - 27 November 2014

Pamela Lacy said: "We hope that local sight loss societies will use this opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise with care homes, raising awareness of sight loss and helping staff improve the lives of residents. Local societies are undoubtedly best placed to deliver this training and forge long-term links that draw local care homes closer to their community, something that the Care Quality Commission wants to encourage."

Sight loss societies wishing to reserve a place at one of the events please email: research@pocklington-trust.org.uk