Research Article
Issue Date: March/April 2020
Published Online: March 04, 2020
Updated: April 30, 2020
Occupational Therapy Practice Guidelines for Older Adults With Low Vision
Author Affiliations
  • Jennifer Kaldenberg, DrPH, MSA, OTR/L, SCLV, FAOTA, is Clinical Assistant Professor and Academic Fieldwork and Capstone Coordinator, Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College, Boston University, Boston, MA; jenmk@bu.edu
  • Stacy Smallfield, DrOT, OTR/L, BCG, FAOTA, is Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy and Medicine and Assistant Director of Entry-Level Programs, Program in Occupational Therapy, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.
Article Information
Evidence-Based Practice / Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Vision / Evidence-Based Practice: Practice Guidelines
Research Article   |   March 04, 2020
Occupational Therapy Practice Guidelines for Older Adults With Low Vision
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 2020, Vol. 74, 7402397010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.742003
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 2020, Vol. 74, 7402397010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.742003
Abstract

Importance: The aging of the population is generating increased demand for occupational therapy practitioners to address the occupational performance of those experiencing low vision.

Objective: This Practice Guideline, which is informed by systematic reviews on interventions for older adults with low vision, is meant to serve as a reference for occupational therapy practitioners to guide best practice in service delivery, improve quality of care, enhance consumer satisfaction, and justify occupational therapy services to external stakeholders. Interventions included in this guideline address performance of activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), reading, and leisure and social participation.

Method: We examined, synthesized, and integrated the results of three systematic reviews into recommendations for practice, education, and research.

Results: Thirty-eight articles were included in the systematic reviews, which served as the basis for clinical recommendations. A case study describes translation and application of the recommendations to clinical practice.

Conclusions and Recommendations: Strong evidence supports the role of occupational therapy for older adults with low vision. On the basis of the evidence, we recommend routine use of low vision rehabilitation for ADL and IADL impairments, multicomponent interventions to improve ADL and IADL performance and leisure and social participation, stand-based electronic magnification to enhance reading, and visual skills training to enhance reading for clients with a central field impairment. We recommend using client-centered problem-solving training to enhance ADL and IADL performance, reading, and leisure and social participation. Mainstream technology may be considered for use on a case-by-case basis to enhance reading performance. Finally, adapted tango may be considered for use on a case-by-case basis to enhance ADL and IADL performance and leisure and social participation.

What This Article Adds: This Practice Guideline provides a summary of the current evidence supporting occupational therapy intervention for older adults with low vision. It summarizes the emerging literature supporting the use of mainstream technology and provides additional support for the use of multicomponent intervention strategies.