Here is how our services work. We work very hard to provide services for all visually impaired clients in our county. As a small agency our staff collectively arrives at work each day with an attitude of caring, and ready to help our clients.
A client is referred to our agency with a referral form that is sent to us. (We provide a referral form for this purpose.) In addition, to determine whether the client is eligible for several different programs, we need a current eye report from their eye doctor. To help with the process of obtaining an eye report we provide, along with the referral, a consent to release information form for the client to sign and return to us so that we can use it to get the eye report from their doctor. Or, if the client prefers, they can ask their eye doctor to send the report to us.
Once we receive the eye report, we schedule an intake appointment. We usually travel to the client’s home to conduct an intake appointment. This is an attempt on our part to make it easier for the client, as we know that transportation is a problem for many, but we also conduct intake appointments at our office. All intake appointments are scheduled in advance.
At an intake appointment, our staff will visit the client to gather all of the information required in completing a client file. This includes some financial information, some demographic information, and some medical information on the client. Using this information, our staff will determine eligibility for the different service programs that are available to the client. Staff will also develop a service plan for the client at that time. The service plan provides a framework for us to assist the clients needs.
By developing a service plan for the client, we can tell clients about the services that we offer and determine which services the client needs and wants.
Our services listed on the service plan include:
Transportation and or Escort needs– Because many of our clients have difficulty getting to medical appointments, pharmacy, bank, grocery store, etc. we offer transportation and if needed, escort services to these places.
Support Services-Many of our clients need assistance with daily living tasks so we offer support services including, reading mail, preparing shopping lists, paying bills, budgeting, filling out applications, referral to other agencies, labeling, organizing and storage, etc.
Life Skills Education-Many clients need more information on their vision diagnosis, and for that reason we offer life skills education on blindness related issues, awareness/resources, self-esteem building, self-advocacy, peer support, etc.
Support Group Membership– Many clients feel that they can’t travel outside their home safely and thus suffer from isolation and depression. For that reason, we offer support group sessions to encourage the exchange of feelings and practical experiences and sharing of practical information among members.
At this point during the intake we also ask each client if they would like to be referred to a state agency where they can receive assistive technology products at no cost. If they indicate to us that they would like to do so, and are eligible financially and visually, we refer them to the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services.
The Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services will provide a social worker for the client. This social worker will assess the client and determine which services of the Bureau are best for the client. These services include rehabilitation teaching, orientation and mobility training, and an independent living program, along with other services.
From this point, we begin to provide our services for our clients. We continue to provide services for our clients as long as they need us to do so.