Ending the Isolation

WHAT IS DEAFBLINDNESS?

Dual sensory loss, or deafblindness, is a term used to describe the sensory impairment when a person has a combination of both vision and hearing impairment. Age related dual sensory loss is an isolating disability for our growing ageing population, which can significantly affect their communication, socialisation, mobility and daily living and result in feelings of loneliness, anxiety and confusion.

Senses Australia is committed to helping end the isolation for many Australians who are deafblind by providing information and support, as well as conducting research and advocating on their behalf.

WHAT IS THE ENDING THE ISOLATION PROJECT?

Ending the Isolation is an Australia-wide project assisting those working in the aged care sector to identify when a person has a combination of a vision and hearing impairment.

Through this project, Senses Australia will educate and create resources for people working in the aged care industry, so they can support older Australians that receive care and give them the support they need.

Senses Australia believe that making simple yet effective changes can result in significant improvements to the quality of life of those affected, plus reduce the need for greater health and social care provision at a later stage.

PROJECT UPDATE

During the last two years, thanks to funding from the Commonwealth Government’s Department of Social Services, the Ending the Isolation project has undertaken significant research with the help of people receiving services from aged care providers in Western Australia.

This research includes:

  • Developing a screening tool for combined vision and hearing impairment in consultation with a national expert panel. The screening tool is currently being piloted and validation testing commenced in October 2017.
  • Conducting interviews with staff working in aged care. Thematic analysis of this data is currently being undertaken.

A resource booklet for service providers, family members and people with combined vision and hearing loss is in the final stages of development and will be available later this year. Training courses for service providers are currently being developed.

WHY SHOULD I BECOME INVOLVED?

Even the smallest of changes can make the world of difference. Help Senses Australia end the isolation for older Australians living with combined hearing and vision impairment by becoming a research partner.

Senses Australia is actively seeking to partner with aged care providers to participate in the research phase of the project. This is a unique opportunity that will add significant value by enabling you to deliver a more enhanced service, ensuring better quality of life outcomes for this unique and growing group of individuals.

Findings will assist in developing resources as well as information packages, which will be available to the aged care sector nationwide. Together, we have the opportunity to create positive change in the lives of older Australians living with deafblindness. Organisations that participate in the project will also receive the full suite of resources that are developed as an outcome of the project.

WOULD YOU LIKE MORE INFORMATION?

Vision and hearing screening assessments will be undertaken in Perth and Busselton areas between October 2017 and February 2018. If you are over 70 and would like to participate please contact Meredith Prain at meredith.prain@senses.org.au.

To discover more about the Ending the Isolation project and what is involved in becoming a research partner, contact us.