Background: Five to 25 percent of residents in aged care settings have a combined hearing and visual sensory impairment. Usual care is generally restricted to single sensory impairment, neglecting the consequences of dual sensory impairment on social participation and autonomy. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a self-management program for seniors who acquired dual sensory impairment at old age.
Methods/design: In a cluster randomized, single-blind controlled trial, with aged care settings as the unit of randomization, the effectiveness of a self-management program will be compared to usual care. A minimum of 14 and maximum of 20 settings will be randomized to either the intervention cluster or the control cluster, aiming to include a total of 132 seniors with dual sensory impairment. Each senior will be linked to a licensed practical nurse working at the setting. During a five to six month intervention period, nurses at the intervention clusters will be trained in a self-management program to support and empower seniors to use self-management strategies. In two separate diaries, nurses keep track of the interviews with the seniors and their reflections on their own learning process. Nurses of the control clusters offer care as usual. At senior level, the primary outcome is the social participation of the seniors measured using the Hearing Handicap Questionnaire and the Activity Card Sort, and secondary outcomes are mood, autonomy and quality of life. At nurse level, the outcome is job satisfaction. Effectiveness will be evaluated using linear mixed model analysis.
Discussion: The results of this study will provide evidence for the effectiveness of the Self-Management Program for seniors with dual sensory impairment living in aged care settings. The findings are expected to contribute to the knowledge on the program's potential to enhance social participation and autonomy of the seniors, as well as increasing the job satisfaction of the licensed practical nurses. Furthermore, an extensive process evaluation will take place which will offer insight in the quality and feasibility of the sampling and intervention process. If it is shown to be effective and feasible, this Self-Management Program could be widely disseminated.
Clinical trials registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01217502.