Why was ‘Visibly Better’ introduced?
There were several reasons for introducing an accreditation scheme specifically for Extra Care Homes and Sheltered Housing sites, but mainly as a response to requests from housing providers in Wales.
Reasons for this include;
; Research has shown the impact that an inaccessible environment can
have on people with sight loss. There are over 4000 hip fracture each year
in Wales, the majority are older people with reduced vision ; Housing Providers have to ensure that their service is acceptable under
the Disability Discrimination Act and the new Disability Equality Duty, as
well as the Welsh Assembly Government’s Design Quality Requirements
; A structure for organisational development that encompasses all aspects
of a housing providers organisation would be a benefit
; A means by which you can promote your success to your tenants and
partners would be a benefit
What is ‘Visibly Better’?
Visibly Better is a comprehensive accreditation scheme developed by RNIB Cymru to meet the needs of the increasing numbers of people with sight problems who live in sheltered housing and extra care homes. While RNIB assumes that tenants living in sheltered housing receive a quality
service in all aspects of life within their housing environment, Visibly Better is focused on improving the service and equality of rights for clients who have sight loss.
The Visibly Better Package
Visibly Better comes as a complete package.
Its features include;
• Framework – it is a developmental frame with gradualised steps to
• Flexibility – you can set your time scale to your calendar and budget
• Varied Focus - you can focus on strengths outside of main standards
• Partnership – it is about a developed relationship with RNIB supporting
you to achieve
It benefits for tenants will include;
• Early identification of sight loss
• Falls and Accidents prevention
• Regain or retain independence
• Access services and information
• Remain in their own home
• Personal development, involvement and inclusion
Its benefits for the organisation include;
• Supported working in partnership with nationally respected organisation.
• Staff Development for front line, maintenance and technical.
• An improving rather than just an achieving agenda
• Meeting needs of tenants, improving quality of life, retaining tenants
• Improving housing stock
• Improving systems
It consists of;
; A set of accreditation standards and detailed information to support them ; Information factsheets with key information from the following publications
- “Housing Sight”
- “Adapting Homes”
- “In Sight of Homes”
- “Colour and Tonal Contrast”
; In House Training Materials (value ?300)
- “Older People with Sight Loss
; Self Assessment Action Plan
; Telephone and Email support from RNIB Housing Team
; RNIB Cymru plaque and Logo
; Full induction for all relevant members of staff
; Training focussed on each standard available
Achieving the standards
There are four levels of accreditation, which are:
; Bronze awarded on achievement of standards 1,2 and 3.
; Silver awarded on achieving standards 1, 2, 3 and either of 4, 5 or 6 ; Gold awarded on achieving standards 1, 2, 3 and two of 4, 5 or 6 ; Platinum awarded on the achievement of all 6 standards.
Summary of Standards
Standard 1 (Whole organisational standard)- The site can give evidence of
ongoing, visual awareness training for all grades of staff and management, showing how this training has been incorporated into practice.
Standard 2 (Whole organisational standard)- The site will ensure that
people with sight loss receive the same standard of information and choice as is available to their fully sighted counterparts.
Standard 3 (Site standard) - The site has integrated design features to
maintain independence and minimise risks to people with sight loss person
which comply with, or are in the spirit of the Welsh Assembly’s Development Quality Requirements, 2005, RNIB Appendix.
Standard 4 – (Site standard) The site has external features or adjustments
to promote independence, mobility and use of the outdoor environment appropriate for residents with sight loss.
Standard 5 – (Site standard) Eye health is actively promoted on the site to
ensure continued independence and residents with sight loss are linked up to local and national services.
Standard 6 – (Whole organisational standard) Tenants with sight loss
receive their full entitlement as residents of the site and association.
Who benefits from Visibly Better?
When Visibly Better was piloted by a selection of sheltered housing schemes tenants benefited by better communication within the home. Staff members, supported by their training, were able to recognise clients with sight problems which had previously not been diagnosed and get medical and community attention or put in support systems for them.
Through staff understanding more about the needs of older people with sight loss, tenants can be enabled to regain some independence, therefore needing less assistance with everyday tasks and be in a more accessible environment. The knowledge and information gained through the training gave staff confidence to handle problems and take responsibility to work towards improved care, service, maintenance and design.
Managers can be confident that by achieving Visibly Better accreditation they are adding to the quality of service and the quality of their sites provided to their tenants who have sight problems. The site will be able to advertise their achievement through use of the RNIB Visibly Better logo.
Visibly Better Scheme price list (2010)
The Visibly Better Scheme Package is costed per organisation on an initial Registration fee, the number of sites registered, the geographical areas they cover and the cost of RNIB auditing, the number of staff who require initial training. Economies of scale and subsidies mean that the cost to the organisation may not be as much as anticipated.
For further information please contact:
David Watkins, RNIB Cymru, Disability Action Centre, The Courtyard, D'Arcy Business Park, Llandarcy, Neath, SA10 6EJ. 01792 325 309.
firstname.lastname@example.org Or 02920 450 440, HousingWales@rnib.org.uk
Registered Charity Number 226227