My name is Heather Campbell and I have been a Patient Support Worker with Visibility for 9 years. From my base in Gartnavel Hospital, I never know who will appear as it is a drop in service.
I start the day by responding to any mail, phone messages and email enquiries and then start phoning round all the patients who have been referred by other hospitals. This can lead to onward referrals to other agencies and/or a letter being sent in the post, with additional information. All of these tasks are put aside whenever a patient pops into the (cosy and bijou!) patient support room.
I then talk to them about a range of different things; registration, other local services, demonstrate what aids are available to help and generally chat through any worries or concerns they have. Again, this can lead to me having to make onward referrals to other agencies if necessary. Throughout the day there is usually a range of queries from other professionals too i.e. social work wanting to check if someone has been registered, medical secretaries with queries about patient expenses or an Occupational therapist wanting advice about working with a patient with sight loss.
In addition to people dropping in to my room, I also get requests to go and visit in-patients on the eye ward, in the Beatson, or any other ward in Gartnavel. It is such a varied and rewarding job. My most rewarding experience has been speaking to a patient who was angry and didn't feel like life was worth living anymore after his diagnosis and then witnessing the change in him over several months as he grew to accept his sight loss and came back to visit Patient Support in a much more positive frame of mind. I also think it's a great achievement that the Patient Support Service is still going strong as a full time service at Gartnavel and will be celebrating it's 15 year anniversary this October!
Anyone is welcome to phone or visit the Patient Support Service when they are attending Gartnavel Hospital. If they attend a different eye clinic in Greater Glasgow and Clyde they can also ask staff there to refer them to Visibility or get our contact details from them - our team do come in to hospitals such as Hairmyres, Inverclyde on certain days. We are open to family, friends and other professionals, not just patients.