Laura Ramsay, our NESS rehabilitation worker based in Angus, helps people living with a visual impairment to re-learn mobility and day to day living skills, enabling them to be as independent as possible. This includes tasks around the home as well as outdoor travel and shopping.
Laura explains the importance of recognising the individual needs of each service user. “When someone is newly diagnosed or they have sight loss that is deteriorating, the first thing I will do is carry out an assessment.
I’m looking to find out about their condition, how it affects them daily, what they are no longer able to do and what they want to achieve. We then build up a plan, looking at the orientation and mobility side of things – how are they when they are out and about, are they able to see and hear the traffic, do they see kerbs, colours, identify landmarks?”
Laura gradually builds confidence by mapping out regular routes in the local area and teaches people to identify risks and hazards and to protect themselves
– for example when crossing roads. Laura goes on to explain, “I will also look at people’s independent living skills. That includes things like how they are in the kitchen, are they safe to make a cup of tea or to put on the oven, can they see the buttons on the microwave or the washing machine, are they safe to chop and prepare food, do they enjoy reading or do they have hobbies that they want to continue with? Every single person is different, and you must go in with an open mind and just listen to them. At the end of the day, it’s their life, it’s their home, and it’s about how they want to live it. We are basically professional problem solvers.”
Laura has worked for NESS for seven years now, initially as a fieldwork assistant
– and after having received support for her son, Ben, who is profoundly deaf. Funded by NESS and The Angus Society for the Blind, Laura studied for a degree in Rehabilitation Work (Visual Impairment) from Birmingham City University and became fully qualified in July 2021.
Laura also enjoys giving talks to local groups and organisations throughout Angus, outlining the services NESS offers. “I see what we do at NESS and the difference we make, and I get really excited about my job and going to work. I’m so proud of the way our service users trust us to work with them.” Laura continues, “This job is so rewarding that most of the time it doesn’t feel like a job. When you see the person out when you’re not working, you think, ‘I’ve helped that person do that.’ It’s a brilliant feeling.”