COVID-19 and older people with combined sight and hearing loss - working with older people, 70-years plus

Featured article - 23 April 2020
By Bernard Quinn, Director, Hi-VisUK

Bernard Quinn, Director, Hi-VisUK

Many older people, especially in their seventies, will have a level of hearing and sight loss that creates unique communication, information and contact difficulties. The COVID-19 emergency measures makes keeping them informed and safe extremely challenging. Hearing Impairment and Visual Impairment Support UK (Hi-VisUK) has produced web advice and resources and an essential mini-series of practical guides to help anyone supporting or caring for an older person with either undetected or detected combined sight and hearing loss, which can also be called deafblindness or Dual Sensory Impairment (DSI).

Hi-Vis UK guides and resources are for anyone with DSI, their family, friends, neighbours, carers, care organisations, social care and health care providers, and pharmacies during the COVID-19 emergency and Government’ guidance on social distancing and self-isolating over-seventies. The guides help you quickly understand the impacts of DSI and extra challenges brought about by the COVID-19 emergency, keeping them and you safe whilst communicating effectively.

Undetected DSI

It is possible that an older person has undetected DSI. The Hi-VisUK guides and online learning help spot those signs quickly and show you how to communicate safely.

Every day

Covering a range of everyday situations, the resources illustrate the potential challenges facing a DSI person and those who need to see and communicate with them during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Stay safe

How do you both stay safe and communicate well? A person with DSI relies heavily on seeing your face and your lip patterns to help understand what you are saying to them but if you are wearing a mask what do you do?

Communicate well

How do you give your staff and volunteers the confidence and knowledge of different ways to improve communication whilst keeping a safe distance?

Free, flexible online learning with CPD certificate

Learning about this significant, widespread age-related health condition is even more important during the COVID-19 emergency. In addition to the web page and PDF guides, there is a free online DSI awareness course packed with videos, animations and information. You can do it in short bites to fit your busy schedule. On successful completion download your CPD certificate.

Further information

Questions about anything in this post? Contact jane@hi-vis.org

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