MICRA and SENSE-Cog host Greater Manchester Symposium on hearing and vision support for people with dementia

Over the past two years, Manchester has been leading an EU wide programme to investigate aspects of concurrent hearing, vision and cognitive impairment in older people. On 5 April we hosted an extremely successful engagement event on this topic for professionals - specifically targeting the dementia, audiology, optometry and policy/guidelines communities. Care home knowledge, attitudes and practice regarding this triple morbidity were an important focus.

More than 90% of people with dementia (PwD) also have hearing and vision impairment. But, significant gaps in understanding of the overlaps of these conditions still remain in:

  • the detection and diagnosis of concurrent hearing and vision impairment in people with dementia;
  • timely and appropriate interventions to improve hearing and vision in people with dementia;
  • the knowledge of professionals working across the fields of hearing, vision and dementia care with respect to the alternative domains.

Appropriately detecting and managing hearing and vision impairments in PwD may offer an opportunity to improve various outcomes, including quality of life, care partner burden, morbidity and trajectory of decline.

The aim of this symposium was to raise awareness of these issues and work towards developing a set of interdisciplinary clinical guidelines to support people with dementia with hearing and/or vision impairment.

Delegates included clinical and non-clinical professionals in vision, hearing health and dementia care, commissioners developing services to support older people’s well-being, managers of older people’s services in NHS, care homes and community care and charities and interest groups in vision, hearing health and dementia care. After talks from an expert panel, this group of delegates participated in a workshop focussed on establishing clinical guidelines for optimising hearing and vision care for older people with dementia in different care settings.

The event was led by Professor Iracema Leroi, who stated: “I think this is the first time there has been an event with all three domains represented.

"The discussion was lively and the workshop supporting the recommendations was very fruitful.”

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