Many people living in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) have vision problems. Sometimes, these problems have not been diagnosed or treated, or the staff are unaware that the person with vision problems needs certain types of assistance. Vision loss can have many negative consequences, including an increased risk of falls and hip fractures. It also has a significant impact on independence and quality of life.
In 2015, the Foundation received funding from the Australian Government to work with RACFs to investigate ways in which the eye health of residents can be improved. To do this, we first needed to get an estimation of how many people in aged care facilities have vision problems that could be fixed or helped.
In collaboration with a team of experts, eye tests were carried out across a sample of RACFs and the results were analysed by an ophthalmologist. This allowed us to gain a comprehensive understanding of the current practices regarding the diagnosis, monitoring and recording of eye conditions in RACFs and identify how the management of residents is adjusted based on their vision status. The study found that there were high rates of eye disease among residents, particularly age-related macular degeneration.
As part of this study, MDFA has developed a number of electronic resources to help people better understand eye health and vision loss in RACFs. These include a resource for families / guardians of residents in aged care facilities, as well as a resource for management and health professionals. A training video and accompanying electronic resource was also developed for care workers on how to better care for people who are blind or have poor vision.
While currently not mandatory, it is expected that RACFs will incorporate these resources into their management systems and staff training programs.
Click here to view the RACF electronic resources and training video.
22 June 2018