A Day in the Life of ....

A Rehabilitation Officer for the Visually Impaired

Introduction

I'm Jayne and I'm a Rehabilitation Officer for the Visually Impaired (ROVI). I work in the Adult Deaf and Visual Impairment Service (ADVIS) which covers the whole of the County. I qualified in 2010 and this is my second career. Before I did this role, I was a Communicator Guide for ADVIS and then moved within the service to work as an unqualified ROVI, and then was supported by Nottinghamshire County Council to become qualified. I attended a distance learning course for 2 years, delivered by a specialist organisation. It was to degree standard and involved several blocks of residential work in Birmingham to learn mobility. As well as studying in my own time, Nottinghamshire County Council was able to offer study time to me too. So I feel I was very well supported. I currently work 37 hours a week between Monday and Friday 8.30am until 5pm. 

My daily routine

I usually log onto our electronic system early in the morning, about 8:30am. I am able to work at home so I do this task from there, I triage my emails and gather my thoughts for the day as to what is important and what can be done a little later. I have an official work base, Sherwood Energy Village (SEV) and use many of the other bases across the County where touch down desks are available to facilitate flexible working. 

What sorts of issues do I have to deal with?

The main aim of my job is to work with people who are visually impaired or who have a combined visual impairment and hearing loss (dual sensory), in their own homes to allow them to be more independent and less reliant upon a care package. The work is varied and interesting. I can be visiting a person in the morning and showing them how to use a magnifier to help them read again or see their grandchildren’s faces. To enable them to use a microwave to warm up a meal and make a cup of tea without scalding themselves. In another visit, I could be teaching a person to use a long cane to enable them to get out and about independently. Building their confidence and assuring family members that life will go on for the person who is visually impaired but will be different. I could be visiting another team at the County Council or the NHS and delivering some awareness training, so they are better able to understand the needs of people living with sight loss.

My team supports me and each other by sharing knowledge and being generally enthusiastic and caring about the work we do. We have excellent administrative support. Formal supervision is the responsibility of our Advanced Social Work Practitioner who supports me by being on hand for advice and guidance. I have a very positive relationship with her and higher managers within the organisation. As a team, we receive excellent support from our BSA who is very skilled and knowledgeable.

What would you say to someone considering this type of work?

The most satisfying aspect of my role is being involved with the people I visit. Most of them are happy to see us and I would like to think I have had a positive effect on their lives. I have seen people moved to tears when I have shown them a magnifier and they can read their letters, or an amplified telephone and they hear their children and have a conversation for the first time for many years. Imagine visiting a person who has lost their sight and not been out of the house for some time, you devise an individual programme of mobility for them, deliver it and sometime later that person is able to walk by themselves to their next-door neighbours for a cup of tea, something we all take for granted. I would encourage you to look at this training and consider it seriously as there is a national shortage of ROVI’s.



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