First of all, thank you for choosing an independent optician as your eye care provider! We will look after your residents as if they were family and provide the best eyecare possible. This blog will run through the basics of what happens when we come to test peoples eyes at a care home.
Booking the visit
When a date and time is agreed upon then we will send a notification to the NHS to let them know when we intend to carry out the eye tests. If there are only 2 people in need of an eye test then we can notify 48 hours before hand. Then we can pick up an additional 3 people that day if needed. Any more than 2 people and the NHS requires 3 weeks notice.
A list if the residents that need testing along with their date of birth is required. If this is the first time we have seen them we will need to know when they last had their eyes tested, either at your care home or at their own home if they or their family has that information. If a resident is new to your home and that information cannot be found out then we can book them for their first check up right away.
Usually people ages 60-70 have an eye test every 2 years and over 70s, every year. Sometimes people will be seen more or less often than this depending on individual circumstances. If a patient requires an eye test sooner than their recommended recall this is fine if they are struggling with their vision or in the case of non verbal patients, if they are perceived to be having problems with mobility etc. Some people think they must wait until they are due for another test but some eye problems can start quite quickly with little warning. So if a patient has any concerns then we will book them in for an early check if needed.
The day before
We will phone the day before to make sure the visit is still appropriate and to check information such as who is diabetic, who is on eye drops and if everyone is well enough to be seen the next day. We will also ask for everyone's next of kin name and phone numbers so we can call them after the eye test to discuss the results of their relatives test if the resident wishes for us to do this. Some homes prefer to check with families in advance to make sure they are happy for us to contact them. For residents who control their own finances or who don't have any family we will talk through the results with them/you at the home. We will always discuss results with the residents first.
On the day
We will set an arrival time with you before hand. Usually straight after breakfast or lunch. For large numbers of residents there will be 2 opticians, for small numbers, usually just one of us will come. We will require a room that is at least 3 meters long to set the chart up in and enough space for patients in wheelchairs. Ideally if the room is big enough we will use part of it as a waiting room for the next patient or for patients who require eye drops to be dilating. If it is a small room then we can use a separate waiting room. If any residents require/want a member of staff to be present and or a family member then this is absolutely fine. Any patients who are bed bound or suffer with anxiety can be seen in their rooms.
You will hear us asking residents normal history and symptom questions regardless of any diagnosis of dementia etc. This is because there is such a wide range of understanding and cooperation we will not assume someone isn't able to do something until we have tried. This goes for reading the chart too. I will try letters, numbers and pictures at various distances. Often a staff member will say "she won't be able to read that". Sometimes they are right but sometimes the patient will surprise them and read out the letters or numbers. We will the proceed with the eye test as similar to in an opticians as possible.
Once the eye test is done then glasses can be chosen if required or requested. Again, if the patient wants staff to help them choose, that's fine. If glasses don't help or they cannot see small print with them then we can also try some magnifying glasses out. These are free to try and then can either be purchased privately or a referral for NHS aids can be made (this requires a hospital appointment).
We will run through the results with each patient as we go along and at the end of all the eye tests we will discuss each residents eye test results with your chosen member of staff (eg senior carer, nurse, manager). This gives you an idea of how good each person's vision is and whether they require new glasses and who needs referring to their GP or eye hospital if there are any eye problems that need further investigation. We will give you a copy of the prescription for the care plan and ask you to sign any eye test vouchers that haven't been able you be signed by the patient (eg dementia or stroke patients who can't sign their own).
For residents who require new glasses we will need payment upfront either from the resident if they are in control of their own finances or the next if kin who deals with their finances. Payments can be made by cash or card or we can email a link to pay online if needed.
If the resident receives a benefit called pension credit guaranteed credit, there will be an NHS voucher that can be used towards the cost of the glasses. If you or the family doesn't know if they receive pension credit then you can call this number to find out 03456088545.
Glasses will take 3 weeks maximum. We will engrave the patients name and date the eye test was done inside the arm of the glasses so staff know which pair belongs to which resident and whether they are the most recent ones. We will also provide you with a picture of the glasses and what they should be used for. This can be kept in the care plan or taped inside the residents wardrobe so staff know which ones they should be wearing.
Adjustments and breakages
You can call or email us anytime to arrange an appointment for us to come and adjust any residents glasses for whom we have provided glasses for. If they are not our glasses, we can still adjust them at the residents own risk (older glasses are more prone to break when adjusted). If a screw has come out or glasses have broken we will repair them as best as we can. If the patient has broken them due to a medical condition such as dementia or Parkinsons and they receive pension credit guaranteed credit, they will be entitled to another voucher to pay towards replacing them if they are irreparable.
We are looking forward to welcoming two care homes on board with Freedom Eyecare Nottingham in the next month and hope to provide eye care to more homes in the future. We believe in spending time with each resident and not rushing. We will answer any questions we can from the residents and or staff. You'll always see the same two opticians, Ann and Stephanie for the eye tests and the glasses deliveries as well as any adjustments. We are always just an email or a phone call away for any questions you might have.
Thank you again for supporting your local independent home visiting optician.
Please email any further questions or enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org