Lifelong Learning Programme

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Best Practice

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Document Typology: Training course
Target groups: Caregivers,Patients
country Where It Took Place: Romania
Name of compiler: Gabriel Saulescu
name of institution: CECMA
role: Researcher
language Of The Description: English
title: GAT4ProVIP - Guidance advice and training for parents and relatives of visually impaired persons
description Of The Best Practice:
The EU has a population of circa 450 millions. Estimates of those with a visual impairment range from fewer than 1 % of the population to around 7% for the elderly. Accurate figures for this condition are notoriously difficult to quantify as many people with a visual impairment do not register as such with the authorities. UK Department of Education statistics indicate registered pupils with a visual impairment are in the order of 1.2% of the school population.
It is known that as the population ages the % of VI increases quite significantly for the 55+ age group.
For the purpose of this project it was estimated to take a global figure of 2% of the population would be a reasonable weighted average. Therefore it is reasonable to estimate around 9 million EU citizens are blind or partially sighted.
Even allowing for demographic variances this would indicate some 100,000 citizens every year are born with or develop visual impairment.
If this project has developed to such a level of being able to help just 10% of this occurrence level  this project has the long term potential to provide guidance help and support to some 10,000 people every year.
The aim of the project has been to develop a training & support  programme to give guidance, advice and training to the person often left to cope on their own – The Carer of a person who has just lost their sight.
Through this structure the project aimed to give new carers all the practical help and guidance as to how to cope with their immediate problems and how to plan ahead to give the best possible support and future lifestyle opportunities to their partner or relative.
The project tried to address all practical issues the target group need to be informed about for both their short and longer term practical needs, as well as lessening the impact of psychological issues through both a residential course offering contact with experts in rehabilitation and a long term self help forum group.
• Mini residential training programme. Mini residential [3 day] awareness course for the target group. This outcome was available for new carers for VIP’s. In each partner country it was planned that a minimum of 6 such events would be held to test and evaluate materials and most importantly to obtain feedback as to whether or not this type of course does fulfil a real need for the target groups. The aim for the end users has been that they are better informed as to the physical and psychological issues affecting their relative or partner in this situation. They have understood what to do next and where to find help and support. They have understood what assistive technology is and how it may help their partner or relative regain as much of their life skills as possible The courses was run as mini residential units by the project partners, the structure and content being readily transferable to other EU states. The courses: Training Book 1 – Physical Issues of Visual Impairment Training Book 2 – Psychological issues for the carers of visually impaired people Training Book 3 – Advice, Guidance and Training Training Book 4 – Assistive Technology Training Book 5 – Life Skills and Motivation The blended programme gave the target group learning information, it enhanced their skills as a carer, informed them of a wide range of practical areas of help and assistance defined above, supported the sharing of good practice and exchange of information through the online forum, and helped in creating a network of people with a common interest. • A website to give advice, training and discourse links to similar people. Complementing the residential courses and providing long term reference materials, further advice and guidance. The forum element gave at least a country wide, with facilities for EU wide, forum / network of people in a similar situation. It gave, restricted section, also project results available to registered professionals. More information on
Quality indicators:
Use of methodologies in order to involve the citizens in the field of training and education health system
The project offers guidance and support to the relatives and friends of people with visual impairments. In this regard, the quality indicator used best describes why this is a good practice. Participants were introduced to the education system through courses on medical issues in order to better understand the impairments and how it can be easily dealt with. Citizens, as the large meaning of it can include also volunteers, are able to become a carer for people with visual impairments.
The innovation in this project is the 3 day mini residential programme linked with an ongoing website support package and the online forum for the carers’ exchange of experiences. These three elements when blended together are innovative in their conception, content and ongoing support.
The blended programme gave the target group learning information, it enhanced their skills as a carer, informed them of a wide range of practical areas of help and assistance defined above, support the sharing of good practice and exchange of information through the online forum, and helped in creating a network of people with a common interest.

The quality of a project was evaluated in terms of the efficacy and efficiency of the working practices, as well as the impact on the target groups.
Comments from target group (end-users and beneficiaries) were collected by the partners at the request of the internal evaluator at different stages in project implementation using forms provided on a need basis. The evaluation process varied in depth and approach depending on the deliverable and its weight.

The evaluation was carried out at the level of the target group and beneficiaries directly involved, with the support of trainers and their families.
In this regard separate questionnaires were made for the two target groups.
The evaluation was performed both quantitatively and qualitatively, aiming both to reach a larger number of beneficiaries and their satisfaction regarding the content of the booklets developed.
Each person interviewed could study the booklets in advance in order to be able express opinions about them, and for those who could not consult them before, they were presented the content in the training program together with other dissemination materials .

The booklets were well appreciated in Romania, especially as the relatives of the target group do not have access to information to help them better understand how to help their relatives in an efficient manner.

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