Eyecare at homePosted on: 22 October 2015 by 50connect editorial
Specsavers Healthcall home eye care service is helping preserve the sight and independence for 1.4 million people in the UK.
Specsavers now offers a home-visit optical service for the housebound, giving them access to a great range of glasses.
It’s a part of the business that Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins is very proud of.
Dame Mary spent much of her early career as optician doing home visits. And with Specsavers in its 30th year she is delighted that it can now take its great value eyecare into people’s homes.
‘Specsavers Healthcall very much matches up with our vision of eyecare for everybody. After 30 years some of our longstanding customers are now housebound or in care homes so this enables us to continue our care for them,’ she said.
Specsavers Healthcall provides eyecare services at home to people who can’t visit an optician unaided due to physical or mental disability. Mobile opticians take an eye testing range of 180 glasses to the housebound, whether living in their own home or a care home.
Dame Mary, 70, grew up in the Bristol. Following a career in the navy, her father qualified as ophthalmic optician and had his own practise in Bristol for 10 years before retiring. Through word of mouth he established a lot home visits and from a young age Dame Mary joined him to help.
‘He made regular visits to several retirement homes, an unmarried mother’s home and a closed convent. It was very varied.’
‘When he retired my husband Doug and I bought out his business and I took on the home visiting work alongside testing in-store. I continued doing this until we sold the business in 1980.
The testing equipment she used in the 1960s and 70s was very primitive compared to the state of the art mobile kit that Specsavers Healthcall uses today.
‘I performed a simple sight test with a chart on the wall and did basic retinoscopy. I could help ensure they could see well enough to read the paper and that was about it.
‘Today our mobile optometrists carry out very thorough eye examinations.’
Specsavers Healthcall strives to offer the same service to people at home that is available in-store, including the use of Digital Precision Care – the new dispensing measurement system which runs on tablet devices.
Domiciliary joint venture partners Charlotte McGimpsey and Zetun Arif look after a territory covering Chorley, Little Hulton, Bolton, Blackburn, Darwen, Accrington, Euxton, Bury, Wigan, St. Helens, Ormskirk, Southport and parts of Liverpool.
Charlotte, the customer services director, said: ‘Being able to make a positive difference to often very vulnerable people is hugely rewarding.
‘The fact that we are a close working team is one of the main benefits of the service in that we offer real consistency and build genuine relationships with our patients.
The partners have been trading for two years and have recently taken on an additional four employees to help run their territories.
‘All the team have the same passion as Zetun and I, that’s why it works.
Zetun added: ‘Every patient gets first class attention with the great benefits of the Specsavers brand and promotions.
Charlotte is currently undertaking a 22-week sign language course.
‘As we have come across a lot of patients who are deaf and use sign language we thought it would be an added benefit to be able to offer this free service to them as getting an interpreter is often difficult.’
She said each day is very varied.
‘Typically my day starts with the delivery of recent glasses orders. I will then spend the first hour checking we have everything we need for the day ahead before meeting with Zetun to travel to the first appointment, which could be at either a residential home or a private address. If we’re in a care home I spend the time liaising with the matron or care worker while Zetun performs the eye examinations. We also spend time talking with the relatives of the patient if they are present at the examination.’
She said another big part of her job was helping to raise Specsavers Healthcall’s local profile.
‘I build time into my day to meet care home managers and matrons to talk to them about the service and also to talk to patients’ relatives as needed. But above all our relationship is with our patients who, wherever possible, should have the ability to make all their own decision about their eyecare provider.’
How to book your home visit from a Specsavers Healthcall optometrist
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