A new visual impairment resource in West Dunbartonshire is helping patients with visual problems manage their medicines.
The new resource has been piloted by pharmacies and other health care staff as a ‘hints and tips’ guide to making it easier for people with visual impairments get the most from their medicines.
The resource pack has been distributed to all pharmacies in the area and is to help visually impaired patients understand how to take their medicine including using inhalers or eye drops.
Pamela Macintyre, Lead for Prescribing and Clinical Pharmacy, West Dunbartonshire Community Health and Care Partnership said: “For people with a visual impairment it can be more difficult to manage any medicines they need to take on a regular basis.
“Working in partnership with patients, carers, West Dunbartonshire Council and a number of voluntary organisations, we have developed guidance for Pharmacists on the best way to help patients take their medicine.
“Pharmcists can offer advice on the range of aids available for the visually impaired and where these can be obtained. By speaking to the patient the Pharmacist can determine what will work best, whether it be a particular type of labelling including the option of talking labels, tactile markers which can be attached to the medicine, a penfriend which works with labels that are uniquely numbered and will recognise each label and read it back.
“All of these aids can be explained to the patient and advice given on the best option based on the patient’s individual circumstances.”
While this new resource is currently focussing on patients with a visual impairment, if successful it could be extended to patients with learning disabilities, literacy or numeracy problems, or for whom English is not their first language.
The reaction from patients has been extremely positive with comments including:
“the pharmacist has been tremendous”;
“a really worth while project”;
“pharmacist has used ‘bump ons’ on eye drops”;
“pharmacist didn’t realise so many people had problems with medication”; and
“excellent pharmacist support”.
It is anticipated that this new service will in due course be rolled out to a wider area and help improve the quality of service available to more members of the community with a visual impairment.
For further information either telephone 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]ot.nhs.uk .