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New guidelines for domiciliary eyecare


Local residents in nursing and residential homes and day care facilities are to benefit from the introduction of new eyecare guidance. This will help ensure that the eyecare they receive is of the highest quality and well managed by home staff and ophthalmic professionals.

The first set of guidelines for the provision of domiciliary eyecare in Northern Ireland has been launched by the Guidelines and Audit Implementation Network (GAIN).

GAIN is a team of health care professionals established under the auspices of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) in 2008. It includes representatives from the Health and Social Care Board, Health and Social Care Trusts and the domiciliary sector.

In March 2006, the DHSSPS introduced ‘The Quality Standards for Health and Social Care’. Optometry wanted to play its full role in adhering to the health and social care quality standards. As a result, these new guidelines were produced for care home staff, optometric staff, residents and their representatives.

Almost everyone over the age of 65 years needs to wear glasses and older people need to be encouraged to make the best use of their eyesight. The introduction of these guidelines means that care home staff now have access to a set of ‘standards’, many of which will already be in place, which should help ensure that those in their care have access to the highest quality of eye care available.

The guidelines include best practice for optometric care and treatment ensuring accessible, flexible and responsive services which are safe and effective.

The Mobile Eye Services Advisory Group, supported by GAIN, who drafted the best practice guidance, will implement an audit of the guidance in 12 months.

Over 70 invited guests attended the launch in Greenmount Agricultural College, Antrim at which Dr Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer, DHSSPS was one of the guest speakers.

Dr McBride said;
“These robust guidelines will help ensure that the quality of eye care provided within nursing, residential and day care facilities is improved and standardised throughout Northern Ireland. I wish to congratulate the efforts of those involved in developing the guidelines. There is no doubt that the residents quality of life will benefit from the standards set”.

Supporting the introduction of the guidelines, Mr. Eddy Kerr, Chairperson of Independent Health Care Providers said;
“We fully welcome guidelines which seek to deliver good practice and promote equality of service for all clients. They clearly are aimed at promoting and improving the health and social well being of many of our clients. If linked to a solid training and education program the outcomes can be significant”.

Copies of the ‘Best Practice Guidance’, available in various formats, can be obtained by either contacting the GAIN Office or by accessing the website.
GAIN Office, DHSSPS, Room C4.17, Castle Buildings, Stormont, Belfast, BT4 3SQ. www.gain-ni.org

For further information contact:
Elizabeth Owen/Nataleen Surgenor,
Public Relations, Health and Social Care Board on
Tel: (028) 2531 1015 / Out of Hours Pager: 07699 783371.