Improving the experience of patients who are blind or have low vision in hospital

Published: August 2021


This experience-based co-design (EBCD) project used experienced based co-design methodology to:

  • collect information from people who are blind or have low vision about their experiences during their hospital stay
  • identify the experience of staff who care for these patients
  • develop and implement solutions.


People who are blind or have low vision will have a good experience in the inpatient environment. They will be provided with effective care that addresses needs arising from their visual impairment.


The project was initiated in response to anecdotal evidence that patients with low vision or who are blind receive variation in care when they are in hospital and feedback from staff that they are unsure how this patient cohort would be best cared for in relation to their visual impairment.


The Ophthalmology Network collaborated with Orthoptics Bankstown-Lidcombe and Fairfield Hospitals, and Vision Australia.

Key activities

Gather phase

The experience data was gathered through:

  • Two focus groups run by Vision Australia, a peak advocacy group, with their members (members of the public) to describe their experience when they have been in hospital.
  • A maximum of nine interviews were conducted including two – three interviews with each of the following groups: (i) People who are blind or have low vision, mostly with members of the Steering and Review Committee; (ii) Support persons of people who are blind or have low vision (iii) Staff at Bankstown-Lidcombe or involved in an ACI network by Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital / ACI staff.

Semi structured questions included:

  • For patients:
    • information regarding their vision (extent of vision loss, new or long standing)
    • what went well or not so well when they were admitted, during their stay and discharge
    • encounters with hospital staff, in relation to their vision.
  • For staff:
    • their experience looking after people who are blind or have low vision for their entire stay.

Understand phase

Using transcripts of recorded interviews and focus groups the Steering and Review Committee developed a journey map that described the whole experience from all angles and identified the good and bad ‘touch points’ or key issues and associated emotions.

Improve phase

The Steering and Review Committees identified the priority touch points and designed strategies that should improve the experience of people who are blind or have low vision. The solutions are then implemented, tested and refined.

The strategies included:

  • patient and consumer information provided in accessible format
  • staff capability

Methods to evaluate the success of each strategy were co-designed to match the solution. These involved assessing patient, support person and staff satisfaction with each strategy.


Measure phase

The outcomes of the project will be evaluated and the ACI will conduct a separate project evaluating the EBCD methodology.

As a result of this co-design project, several resources have been developed for use by consumers and clinicians.

Resources for low vision or blind inpatients

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