203684 Vision Care Access and Quality of Life in Nursing Homes

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 9:03 AM

William Arthur Monaco, OD, PhD , College of Optometry, Salus University, Elkins Park, PA
Duncan MacLean, MD , VA Medical Center, Department of Veterans Affairs, Lebanon, PA
Access to eye care for seniors in nursing homes is a nationwide problem. In April 2005, there were a total of 16, 094 nursing homes in the United States. On an average day, nearly 4% of the US population (1.6 million Americans) is residing in a nursing home. In 2020, 12 million Americans will need long-term care. Historically, there have been 1.9 million beds and 84% occupancy in nursing homes nationwide. The provision of eye care services at these facilities varies from state to state. Most facilities do not have a plan for eye care services for their residents. They arrange for eye care services to be administered to residents suffering urgent or emergent eye problems, or those requested by the family or responsible guardian. The facility responsibility for eye care does not extend to preventative eye care. Defined eye care protocols exist for glaucoma and diabetes, but there are no nursing home protocols or guidelines for patients who suffer stroke, hypertension, or coronary artery disease - where there is risk for catastrophic vision loss.

It is evident, from nationwide data, that eye care should be established as a priority in nursing homes for every resident, and a protocol for patient identification based on health care status be derived that would provide the best and safest outcomes for the visual needs of the patient.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify key factors influencing access to eye care in nursing homes, 2. List a series of remedies from a proven model.

Keywords: Access to Health Care, Vision Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a professional in the field and have extensive experience in the topic area
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.