Beth A. Barstow, Mary Warren, Swetal Thaker, Allison Hallman, Penelope Batts; Client and Therapist Perspectives on the Influence of Low Vision and Chronic Conditions on Performance and Occupational Therapy Intervention. Am J Occup Ther 2015;69(3):6903270010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.014605
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© 2021 American Occupational Therapy Association
OBJECTIVE. We explored how vision loss and comorbid chronic conditions influence occupational therapy intervention by gathering perspectives from occupational therapists treating clients with low vision and from older adults with low vision.
METHOD. We surveyed 59 occupational therapists on the frequency of comorbidities in their clients and their influence on low vision intervention. Eight older adults with low vision participated in in-depth interviews and observations on the influence of low vision and comorbidities on their occupational performance. Conclusions reflect data analysis from both methods.
RESULTS. The occupational therapists modified low vision interventions to address the added effect of each comorbidity. Modifications included more treatment sessions, home visits, referrals to other professions, and provision of strategies to address comorbidities. The older adults viewed vision loss as a stronger influence than comorbidities on independence in daily occupations.
CONCLUSION. Both vision loss and comorbidities influence occupational performance, supporting the need for interventions to address both conditions.
It’s something I didn’t ask for. But now that I got it [vision loss], so how am I going to try to overcome it? You can’t sit there and mope and cry about it; you got to pick yourself up and try to help yourself. It’s like learning to walk again. Like I said, you have to have the determination.
Provide at least some intervention in the clients’ home environment
Screen clients for depression and address psychosocial adjustment to vision loss
Collaborate with and refer clients to other rehabilitation providers, particularly mental health professionals
Adjust visits as appropriate, expect cancellations, and recognize that clients will require increased session time and frequency
Solicit and enhance caregiver involvement
Address both vision loss and comorbidities to enhance safety
Expect deficits in ADLs, IADLs, social participation, leisure involvement, and work
Apply compensatory strategies that include environmental modification, adaptive equipment, and modification of habits and routines.
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