Sense-Cog Australia

Eyes Ears and Mind

A 3-year pre-post intervention trial of a hearing and vision support program for people living with dementia in Australian aged care facilities

Quite often people living with dementia in aged care also have hearing or vision loss. This can be hard to detect because symptoms can be masked by the presence of dementia. When hearing and vision problems are not detected or are poorly managed, people’s quality of life can be impacted. Communication difficulties can be exacerbated, resulting in greater dependency, confusion, and challenging behaviour. Therefore, it’s important that people living with dementia in Australian aged care facilities have access to high quality hearing and vision care.

This study has 2 phases. The first phase will involve adapting the SENSE-Cog sensory support intervention for people living in Australian aged care facilities; and the second phase will involve implementing this in Australian aged care facilities and measuring its impact on the quality of life of residents and their carers.

Phase 1

To improve residents’ hearing and vision, we propose a ‘sensory support intervention’ involving:

  • training staff to detect sensory problems
  • regular hearing and vision screening and assessment
  • access to hearing and vision devices (e.g., hearing aids, glasses)
  • improving the sensory environment (e.g., lighting, noise reduction)
  • the establishment of sensory care pathways

To ensure the intervention can be successfully implemented into Australian aged care facilities, we will find out some of the challenges aged care staff are likely to face when implementing the support intervention and address these. The intervention will subsequently be co-designed with input from people living with dementia, family members, aged care staff, and hearing and vision care professionals.

Phase 2

Once we have adapted the sensory support intervention, we will be implementing it in several aged care facilities in Australia. We will be evaluating:

  • the feasibility, acceptability and tolerability of the intervention for people living with dementia
  • the impact of the intervention on residents’ quality of life and wellbeing; functional ability; and sensory environment
  • the impact of the intervention on carers’ quality of life, well-being and relationship with the person living with dementia

If you are interested in finding out more, please contact the Research Coordinator, Dr Carly Meyer: