BMJ Open: Impact of eye clinic liaison officers: a qualitative study in UK ophthalmology clinics

6 March 2019
Source: BMJ Open

Objectives:    To explore the impact of eye clinic liaison officers (ECLOs, also known as sightBMJ open logo loss advisors) on the processes, functions and quality of ophthalmology clinics through the experiences of ophthalmology staff in the UK.

Design: Qualitative study.

Setting: UK hospital ophthalmology clinics.

Participants:  Health and social care professionals in the UK.

Results:  ECLOs who had a presence in hospital ophthalmology clinics were seen as valuable in streamlining processes within the clinic, particularly in relation to the certification of visual impairment process, and providing continuity of care for patients when they were discharged from medical treatment. ECLOs also saved staff time in the clinic, as they were often responsible for providing emotional and practical support for patients living with sight loss.

Conclusions:  ECLOs are well placed in ophthalmology clinics. They can relieve pressure on clinical staff by taking on information giving and referring duties, allowing other staff to focus on their clinical responsibilities. The impact of ECLOs may depend on efficient communication with the clinical team, being trusted by other staff and having a good knowledge of local and national sight loss support services outside of the hospital setting. Further research could enhance our understanding of how much time and associated costs ECLOs substitute in the ophthalmology clinic.

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