Low vision rehabilitation over the course of a year: The experiences and feelings of elderly people with visual impairments

Heidi J. Siira, Aura A.K. Falck, Helvi A. Kyngäs


Background/Objective: Low vision rehabilitation (LVR) services aim to help people of all ages with visual impairment (VI) to maintain and improve their quality of life and well-being. However, knowledge about elderly people’s subjective experiences of the usefulness as well as their expectations of LVR is very limited. The aim of this study was therefore to produce new knowledge that can be utilized in the development and improvement of LVR processes and services in order to better support well-being and quality of life, and encourage the ‘active aging’ of elderly people with VI.

Methods: Qualitative research methods were used. The data was collected from elderly people with VI (n = 35) by unstructured telephone interviews one year after the onset of individual LVR. The data was analyzed by inductive content analysis.

Results: Numerous and varied expectations were expressed for LVR, showing mainly hopes for vision improvement and the need for services and support. The impact of medical care on vision outcome was mentioned in relation to the perceived benefits of LVR. LVR was generally considered useful in terms of overall well-being and quality of life, the main practical benefits being the provision of different visual aids and assistive devices.

Conclusions: The results proved the concept, process and multi-sided nature of LVR to be incompletely perceived by the participants in the study. In light of this, we argue that there is a need for improved communication between people with VI and medical staff when discussing the nature and the realistic possibilities of LVR; care should be taken to distinguish it from medical care. The benefits of LVR in enabling independence in daily tasks were commonly recognized, however.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v9n8p16

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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