Objectives: Up to 90% of people with dementia in long term care (LTC) have hearing and/or vision impairment. Hearing/vision difficulties are frequently under-recognised or incompletely managed. The impacts of hearing/vision impairment include more rapid cognitive decline, behavioural disturbances, reduced quality of life, and greater care burden. This research investigated LTC staff knowledge, attitudes and practice regarding hearing/vision care needs for residents with dementia.
Methods: A survey of staff in LTC facilities in England, South Korea, India, Greece, Indonesia and Australia. Respondents used a five-point scale to indicate agreement or YES/NO response to questions regarding sensory-cognitive care knowledge (what is known); attitudes (what is thought); practice (what is done).
Results: Respondents reported high awareness of hearing/vision care needs, although awareness of how to identify hearing/vison difficulties or refer for assessment was low. Most felt that residents were not able to use hearing/vision devices effectively due to poor fit, being poorly tolerated or lost or broken devices. A substantial minority of respondents reported low confidence in supporting use of assistive hearing/vision devices, with lack of training the main reason. Most staff did not undertake routine checking of hearing/vision devices, and it was rare for facilities to have designated staff responsible for sensory needs. Variation among countries was not significant after accounting for staff experience and having received dementia training.
Conclusions: There is a need to improve sensory support for people with dementia in LTC facilities internationally. Practice guidelines and training to enhance sensory-cognitive knowledge, attitudes and practice in professional care teams is called for.
Keywords: KAPsurvey; LTC; dementia; nursing home; shearing care; staff training; vision care.
© 2021 The Authors. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.