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An intervention designed to improve sensory impairments in the elderly and indoor lighting in their homes: an exploratory randomized controlled trial

Authors Haanes G, Kirkevold M, Hofoss D, Horgen G, Eilertsen G

Received 24 July 2014

Accepted for publication 26 September 2014

Published 7 January 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 11—20


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Gro Gade Haanes,1 Marit Kirkevold,2 Dag Hofoss,2 Gunnar Horgen,1 Grethe Eilertsen1

1Department of Health Sciences, Buskerud and Vestfold University College, Drammen, Norway; 2Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

Background: Vision and hearing impairments in the elderly (aged over 80 years) and poor indoor lighting conditions in a home-care setting are risk factors for functional decline, reduced social participation, withdrawal, and accidents.
Objective: We aimed to evaluate the changes in vision, hearing, and lighting conditions in the homes of participants aged over 80 years after implementation of a clinical intervention.
Methods: We undertook an exploratory randomized, controlled experimental study of sensory impairments and lighting conditions in the homes of elderly aged over 80 years who received home care. The intervention group (IG) received advice and encouragement to improve their vision, hearing, and indoor lighting conditions in the home, with a 10-week follow-up period. The control group (CG) received their usual care and underwent the same vision and hearing tests but were provided no intervention.
Results: Vision and hearing (self-assessed) and tested by Wilcoxon rank-sum test were significantly better (P=0.025 and P=0.008, respectively) in the IG after the intervention and follow-up. The test between the groups showed a significance of P=0.026 for visual acuity and P=0.098 for pure-tone average. The maximum and minimum lighting levels were significantly improved in the IG after the intervention (P=0.002 and P=0.039, respectively) but were unchanged in the CG.
Conclusion: Several of the IG participants did not follow all of the advice; however, among those who did, vision, hearing, and lighting conditions were all significantly improved. It appears that modest interventions have great potential for improving vision and hearing. Older patients in the home-care setting cannot be expected to take the necessary action to improve their sensory impairments by themselves. They require close monitoring, help from a specialist, and help to improve the indoor lighting conditions in their homes.

Keywords: vision and hearing impairments, home lighting conditions, old people, home care

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