What does a Rehab Worker do?
A Rehabilitation Worker or 'Rehab Worker' works with people with sight impairments so they can remain independent. This might involve anything from teaching everyday living skills, such as how to prepare and cook a meal safely, to providing advice on how to get about safely or how to use equipment specially designed for people with sight impairments. Teaching someone how to travel out and about independently within their local community can dramatically transform peoples' lives.
The partial or complete loss of a person's ability to see properly can require major adjustments to their life. One of the responsibilities of the Rehab Worker therefore is to seek to encourage a sense of hope, and to promote a desire to develop the skills the individual needs to live an independent life.
Because no two people's needs are ever the same Rehab Workers take into account each individual's unique requirements and devise a rehabilitation programme for them that might involve:
- teaching new ways to carry out day-to-day living tasks using specialist equipment when necessary
- offering emotional support and practical advice
- teaching safe ways to get about
- providing information on specialist equipment
What qualifications are needed to work as a Rehab Worker?
Most employers including local authority social services departments and voluntary organisations will expect you to already have or be prepared to work towards a relevant qualification.
Kent Association for the Blind and Canterbury Christ Church University offer a two-year Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care (Visual Impairment Rehabilitation). This exciting modular course will enable students to gain the skills necessary for rehabilitation work.
Being qualified means enhanced job satisfaction, more pay and opportunities for professional advancement.
My Route to Rehab
Rehab student, John Wills, talked to Avril Chapman about having retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and overcoming the hurdles of studying for a foundation degree.
What did you do before you worked for Kent Association for the Blind (KAB)?
I had several roles before I worked for KAB. I was a professional vocalist for 16 years, I've got a partnership in a family farm, and I still do all the accounts for the farm.
How long have you been at KAB?
I started in July 2008, so coming up to five years.
Why did you want to become a rehabilitation worker?
I felt that I needed to make a change in my life. I lost my brother in 2006, it was a turning point for me, and I felt I needed to challenge myself. A temporary job became available at KAB to cover a rehab post for someone on maternity leave. That person did not come back and I applied for their job. I did actually come here with a view to further my education.
"I've got the best job in the world!"
Carol: a KAB Rehabilitation Worker
Carol, a KAB Rehabilitation Worker and Mobility Officer, explains how she came to work for KAB and what makes a good Rehabilitation Worker
Why do you enjoy working in Rehabilitation, Carol?
I love it because of the variety - no two days are ever the same: the tasks are different, the people are different, and I just love working with all different age groups. One day you're working with children, then you're working with an adult; you might be running an awareness session in the morning, and then providing mobility training for someone in the afternoon. It's this variety - and the fact that you're always learning - that keeps the work fresh.