Remote rehabilitation (telerehabilitation) in the sight loss sector: Reflections on challenges and opportunities from service providers in the United Kingdom

Lee Jones*, Matthew Lee, Renata S. M. Gomes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

Background: Vision rehabilitation services are increasingly being delivered remotely (i.e., telerehabilitation); yet, limited research has explored practitioners’ attitudes towards this approach or considered the wider implications of re-designing services. This qualitative study investigates perspectives on delivering telerehabilitation among sight loss support organisations. Methods: Twelve participants from 9 sight loss charities in the United Kingdom took part in a semi-structured interview. Participants were professionals from large national rehabilitation service providers ( n = 5), regional charities ( n = 3), or local community organisations ( n = 4). Qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Four themes were identified (1) Delivery of telerehabilitation; (2) Opportunities associated with telerehabilitation; (3) challenges associated with telerehabilitation; and (4) wider challenges in the vision rehabilitation sector. Greater utilisation of telerehabilitation was viewed positively; however, questions arose regarding cost-effectiveness and the appropriateness of this method of service delivery. Factors such as workforce decline, access to training, and understanding of vision rehabilitation were identified as wider problems affecting the future landscape of vision rehabilitation. Conclusion: Digital innovation has facilitated local and national organisations to provide largely successful and accessible telerehabilitation services. Wider challenges call for investment in strategies and policies to ensure people with visual impairment can continue to benefit from vision rehabilitation services.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Visual Impairment
Early online date22 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes

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