Online Program

Developing a community-based low vision demonstration center: An interprofessional model

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 12:45 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Martha Sanders, PhD MSOSH OTR/L CPE, Occupational Therapy, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT
Lynne Hodgson, PhD, Gerontology, Department of Sociology, Quinnipiac University, Hamden,, CT
Vision loss is an age-related condition that impacts independent living and quality of life for over 3.3 million older adults. Although numerous devices exist to compensate for visual deficits, most older adults do not have access to low vision specialists or equipment options to improve their function. Senior centers are often focal points for seniors' social and health-related activities. The purpose of this project was to develop a sustainable demonstration center for low vision within an existing senior center, in order to provide access to low vision aids. This project trained occupational therapy(OT) and gerontology (GT) professionals and students, senior center directors, and community volunteers in low vision topics. Topics included visual deficits, functional deficits, low vision products, and process for choosing devices. Individuals then underwent interprofessional team training to identify low vision screenings, develop strategies for assisting seniors, and negotiate a process for sustaining a low vision center. The trainings culminated in a "Try it Out" day for community seniors who were invited to "try out" a myriad of low vision aids to improve function. Collaboration of OT/GT and community volunteers promoted a holistic understanding of the process: OT students screened for functional deficits while GT students emphasized the social involvement that assistive devices promote; community volunteers clarified the challenges in accessing and using products. This paper will describe the team training, planning, and program evaluation including older adults' satisfaction with the process, equipment found useful, and overall plan for program sustainability.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Identify the steps for training an interprofessional team of occupational therapists, gerontologists, and community seniors about low vision aids. Explain the process of planning a low vision demonstration day for community seniors. Evaluate the efficacy of a community low vision demonstration center at meeting seniors’ needs.

Keyword(s): Vision Care, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Martha Sanders has been an associate professor of occupational therapy at Quinnipiac University for over 17 years. She completed her doctoral degree in Community Health and regularly conducts community-based health promotion programs for older adults with her students. She conducted this inter-professional low vision program to promote accessibility to low vision aids to seniors in the community. She is experienced providing low vision services to community, particularly those with macular degeneration.
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.