Monday, June 1, 2009

Tips for Caregivers working with Vision and Hearing Loss Clients

We here at Synergy have learned some great tips for any caregiver that is dealing with someone who is losing both their sight and hearing.We here at Synergy have learned some great tips for any caregiver that is dealing with someone who is losing both their sight and hearing.

1. When a person first arrives, orient them to their bed, bathroom, closet, dresser, etc.

2. Notate up front in person's chart their vision and/or hearing loss.

3. To get the person's attention, gently touch their shoulder, arm or hand. State your name and reason for visit. Determine if person is visually and/or hearing impaired and adjust voice as needed.

4. Identify.....Yourself every time. If difficult for person to hear, and they have some remaining vision, write name and role (i.e. Judy — nurse) in large print with felt tip marker to show them.

5. Inform person before you begin to do anything with or to them! For example, do not move them or grab their arm without first explaining what you are doing and why. Use "sighted guide" technique if assistance is requested.

6. Speak clearly, at a slow-to-normal rate and pause between sentences. Do not shout. Shouting can distort the sound signal and make you seem angry. Stand within 3 to 6 feet of individual and keep movement to minimum while speaking.

7. Rephrase rather than repeat when you are not understood. For example, rephrase `Do you want a drink?' to `Would you like some water?'

8. Ask person if they can understand you, not just hear you. Understanding and hearing are two different things. Ask WH questions (what where, and why) rather than yes/no questions.

9. Do not move things in the room or on the bedside table unless necessary. If you do move something, let the person know and be specific about new location.

10. Do not stand in front of a light source or window as the glare may be difficult for the person facing you. Rather, position yourself where light falls on you and sit or stand at their level.

11. Ask person if they need help reading the menu and selecting meal choices.

12. When serving a meal, describe the position of food on the plate by relating them to the numbers on the face of a clock. For example, `Meat is at 6:00 and potatoes are at 10:00'. Explain where other items are such as beverages and salads.

13. Give explicit directions and verbal responses. Be careful not to only use hand signals, nod, or say things such as `over there'. Be specific: `The chair is 4 feet to your right'.

14. Read ALL materials clearly as they appear on the page; do not read excerpts or summarize unless the visually impaired person requests you to do so.

15. Be patient, positive, and relaxed. It may take time to learn how to best talk with someone. Experiment and ask how you can help!

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