A better hospital experience for patients with low vision

Understanding what is happening around you is key when you’re seeking medical help.

That’s why hospitals can be daunting places for people with low vision.

Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) is partnering with See Differently to ensure consumers with low vision or blindness have a better experience in hospital.

Formally known as the Royal Society for the Blind, See Differently is the leading provider of low vision services in South Australia.

“Our partnership with See Differently is all about improving communication for consumers in hospital who have a vision impairment,” said Georgina, Consumer Partnering and Community Engagement Consultant at CALHN.


“Together we’ve developed hospital packs for patients as well as staff resources that are now in place in our hospitals.”

Lauren, a Therapy and Independent Living Team Manager at See Differently, said vision impairment can be a hidden disability.

“The hospital packs provide a simple and a discreet way for consumers to communicate their needs to anyone they interact with – such as doctors, nurses, allied health staff, people providing food – without having to explain their situation over and over again,” said Lauren.


“This helps them have a smoother and less stressful hospital experience.”

Prompting verbal communication

The See Differently packs include signs and stickers to be displayed at the bedside to prompt staff to provide detailed verbal information, such as:

“Hello. I have vision loss. Please speak to me about my needs. Thanks!”


“Hello. I have a vision impairment and can’t see my meal. Can you tell me what the meal is and where it is on the tray. Thanks!”

Assistive technology is also available for hospital patients with low vision, such as a liquid level finder to prevent over-filling of drinks.

The pack also has resources for CALHN staff, including reminders and tips for working with a blind or vision-impaired patients:

  1. Say your name
  2. Focus on the patient
  3. Use everyday language
  4. Be yourself
  5. Ask if help is needed.

The See Differently hospital packs are now available at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Hamstead Rehabilitation Hospital, Glenside Health Service and the Repat Health Precinct.

Image shows Lauren (left, Therapy and Independent Living Team Manager at See Differently) with Georgina (right, Consumer Partnering and Community Engagement Consultant at CALHN).