National deafblind charity, Sense, has launched a new resource for primary healthcare staff on supporting patients with a dual sensory loss. The ‘It All Adds Up’ guide has been developed as part of a project funded by the Department of Health to raise awareness of dual sensory loss in older people.
There are an estimated 250,000 people aged over 70 with dual sensory loss in the UK, a figure that is set to rise to almost half a million by 2030. Sense estimates one in twenty patients over the age of 75 are likely to have a moderate or severe hearing and sight loss, the combination of the two, commonly known as dual sensory loss, can have a serious impact on an individual’s ability to access information and advice on health and wellbeing.
Dual sensory loss can also make it difficult for people to communicate with healthcare professionals and access services. This can result in difficulties with self-management of conditions, having a healthy lifestyle and maintaining social relationships. In addition, an individual living with sight and hearing loss is more likely to suffer from a range of conditions including stroke, arthritis, heart disease and hypertension.
The ‘It All Adds Up’ guide offers a variety of information for primary healthcare staff on identifying and supporting patients with dual sensory loss, including:
- Understanding dual sensory loss, its prevalence and its impact on your practice
- Tips and ideas for making your services more accessible including environmental changes and good practice communication
- Your legislative duties and information on organisations who can provide advice
- Where to refer patients for additional support.
Commenting on the launch of the new guide, Neil Churchill, Director of Patient Experience at NHS England said:
“NHS England welcomes the “It all adds up” guide as an invaluable tool to help primary care staff identify and support people with dual sensory loss. NHS England is committed to ensuring that patients receive information in formats they can understand and that they receive appropriate support to help them communicate”.
Richard Kramer, Deputy CEO at Sense said:
“With an increasing population of older patients with hearing and sight loss it is important to recognise the role healthcare staff play in identifying and supporting people with dual sensory loss to lead an active, independent and healthy life. This guide has been designed to help healthcare professionals reach that aim.”