Editorial| Volume 22, ISSUE 6, P1151-1155, June 2021

Addressing Hearing and Vision Impairment in Long-Term Care: An Important and Often-Neglected Care Priority

      Optimizing quality of life for older persons in long-term care settings to a large extent involves identifying chronic disabling conditions and implementing measures to minimize their impact on everyday function. To address these issues, comprehensive assessment is necessary, followed by application of appropriate supportive and rehabilitative resources. In theory, this is how long-term care should function, but in reality, the burden of morbidity, the challenge of competing priorities, and the limitations of funding streams tend to leave many treatable problems unaddressed. Among these, perhaps the most ubiquitous and important, in terms of their potential contribution to quality of life, are impairments in hearing and vision. Each of these sensory deficits affects more than half of long-term care residents, and each is systematically underdiagnosed and undertreated, resulting in excess disability, medical and behavioral consequences, and diminished quality of life. This editorial reviews key issues around hearing and vision impairment in long-term care settings and provides guidance for policy makers and practitioners on best practices.
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