Background and objectives: A global report estimates up to 2% of the world population experience concurrent hearing and vision impairment (dual sensory impairment [DSI]). Older adults with DSI are often frequent users of health care, yet the evidence is limited to inform care delivery for this population. This systematic review aimed to synthesize evidence on tools and strategies for screening, assessment, and interventions that promote a continuum of care for older adults with DSI.
Research design and methods: The review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews. Electronic databases (CINAHL, Embase, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library, Global Health, and Web of Science) and clinical trial registries (ISRCTN Registry, WHO ICTRP, and ClinicalTrials.gov) were searched. The quality appraisal was performed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool.
Results: Of 4,775 identified references, 28 records were selected. The review identified 7 tools and 7 strategies for DSI-specific screening, assessments, and/or interventions. Some of the most promising tools were the interRAI Community Health Assessment with deafblind supplement, adapted Montreal Cognitive Assessment, and the Severe Dual Sensory Loss screening tool. Useful strategies included the use of alternative forms of communication, assistive devices or technology, education and training for service providers, and training of older adults on the use and maintenance of assistive aids/technology. However, quality appraisal indicated a need for more robust evidence to inform clinical practice.
Discussion and implications: Reviewed evidence pinpointed the need for training for health care providers on DSI-specific challenges and supports and the use of integrated multidisciplinary care for older adults. Future studies need to explore the development and evaluation of tools and interventions to improve the continuum of care for this group. Systematic Review Registration: PROSPERO registration # CRD42020180545.
Keywords: access; health care; rehabilitation; sensory loss; strategies; tools.
© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America.