King's Lynn hospital boss experiences challenges faced by visually-impaired patients
The chief executive of Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital experienced some of the challenges faced by visually-impaired patients during a guided walk this week.
Caroline Shaw took a step in the shoes of patients who are blind or have limited vision thanks to the support of Helen Sismore from the charity Guide Dogs.
The QEH has been working with Guide Dogs to introduce a number of improvements to help vision-impaired patients navigate around the site and reach their appointments.
During the guided tour on Wednesday, Mrs Shaw wore an eye mask, which completely blocked out her sight, while receiving a guided walk from the outside of the hospital into the main entrance.
Having made her way inside the hospital, Mrs Shaw swapped the mask for a cane and glasses, which gave the effect of “tunnel vision” that people with Retinitius Pigmentosa have.
After the session Mrs Shaw said: “This was a really important exercise as it gave me the opportunity to experience what life is like for our vision impaired patients and staff.
“I would like to thank Helen and Guide Dogs for giving me this opportunity to understand the differences we need to make to ensure our hospital site is accessible for everyone."
Over the last five years, Guide Dogs has been supporting the QEH with training and the environment within the hospital, which includes ensuring that chairs in waiting areas are a different colour to the floor.
Helen Sismore from Guide Dogs said: “We are pleased to be working with the QEH as this hospital is setting a gold standard when it comes to accessibility for people with sight loss.
“My role is to work to help communities make sure their services are accessible as possible to people who vision impaired and ensure that they are able to make their appointments.”