Assisting a visually impaired client in your practice

Many guide dog owners have some residual vision but not enough to get around safely without a dog or some other mobility aid. It is perfectly acceptable to ask how much vision a person has, as this will affect the amount and type of assistance they require. Individual guide dog owners may require different levels of assistance, so always ask what they would like.

If possible, have one of your reception staff or nurses greet the guide dog owner when they arrive. Assistance to find a seat in the waiting room and details of how long they may need to wait, who or what else is in the waiting room etc will help the guide dog owner to orientate themselves and feel comfortable.

  • When guiding a visually impaired person let them take your left arm so you are on the opposite side to the dog
  • It is important to identify yourself and make sure the person knows that you are addressing them
  • Let them know when you are leaving a room and when you return
  • When examining and treating the dog, let the person know what you are doing

If the owner is required to administer a treatment at home, please ensure that they are shown how to do so. All clients will have been taught how to give tablets, liquid medication, ear treatment etc but they may not have practised this for some time and may appreciate a refresher.