Commencing in 2014 as part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, SENSE-Cog Europe is an ambitious and multi-dimensional project aimed at improving the mental well-being of older European adults. Split into a series of ‘work packages’, SENSE-Cog Europe has sought to understand how mental health and sensory and cognitive impairment interact and to develop more effective and clinically useful ways of screening and intervening.
We have teams all around the world
At the centre of this extensive project is the SENSE-Cog RCT which is trialling a tailored, home-based sensory support intervention to improve quality of life for those living with cognitive and sensory impairment and reduce caregiver burden.
Hearing/vision impairments are even more common among people receiving home and residential aged care services; 90% of people have significant hearing and vision problems that are frequently undetected or undercorrected. Poor sensory function can worsen quality of life and exacerbate the impact of dementia by making communication more difficult, increasing dependency, confusion and challenging behaviour. This leads to prescription of excess medication and increases the cost of care. Hearing and vision care for people receiving home and residential aged care services is a critical unmet need.
We propose a ‘sensory support intervention’ involving: training staff to detect sensory problems and communicate better; ensuring older adults have access to good hearing and vision care (hearing aids, glasses); improving the sensory environment of the home (e.g. lighting, noise reduction). We are already using this approach in people with dementia living in their own homes in an ongoing Europe-wide study and with RwD in Irish aged care facilities (SENSEcog care).
This holistic and multidisciplinary hearing/vision intervention is a low cost, low risk means of significantly improving quality of life and other key outcomes for older Australians receiving home care or residential aged care services. we aim to improve care and support for people living with dementia and reduce the impact of dementia on wellbeing and quality of life.
The project will achieve measurable improvements in consistency and quality of care for older Australians, ensuring ensure equitable and appropriate access to quality clinical care, minimise avoidable transitions between home support and residential aged care, maximising allied health impact from audiology/optometry services, and social inclusion and engagement for older Australians.
Our group conducts clinical and research activities in the Audiology and Neurology units at the Hospital das Clínicas of the UFMG, a public university hospital in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Our study groups assist patients with cognitive decline and dementia, as well as patients referred for hearing aids fitting. At the present moment, a feasibility study is under development in order to implement the clinical trial based on hearing rehabilitation and cognitive outcomes. The feasibility study also aims to investigate a group counselling approach.
Luciana Macedo de Resende, PhD. Audiologist and Associate Professor at the Department of Speech and Language Pathology, Faculty of Medicine of UFMG, with clinical and research experience in diagnostic and rehabilitative audiology, including electrophysiology, cochlear implants, hearing aids fitting and counselling.