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Training resources for facilities target residents’ sight


New digital training tools aim to improve eye health and stop vision loss among aged care residents.

The educational resources launched today have been developed by consumer peak Macular Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA) in response to research it released earlier this year that identified high rates of eye disease among residents.

Aged-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common form of macular disease and affects one in seven Australians over the age of 50.

The tools include training videos, information on embedding detection and treatment into aged care practices and guidelines for management and healthcare professionals.

MDFA undertook a study in 2016 to assess the eye health and vision care of 193 residents in eight aged care facilities in Sydney.

If found that more than 70 per cent of participants had some form of eye disease, almost 30 per cent had untreated cataracts and more than 60 per cent had some degree of AMD, said Dee Hopkins, CEO of MDFA.

Dee Hopkins

She said the practical educational resources aimed to close the knowledge gap identified by the research and improve the quality of life of aged care residents.

“Vision loss in residents of aged care facilities can have so many negative consequences, such as increased risk of falls and fractures and a reduction in social independence and quality of life,” Ms Hopkins said.

“Vision loss also trebles the risk of depression.”

The resources focus on common eye disease, behavioural signs that may indicate loss of vision, where to go for more information and how to embed practice changes.

MDFA is calling on residential aged care facilities to incorporate the digital resources into their management systems and staff training programs.

The resource packs and full report, Vision and Eye Healthcare Study in Residential Aged Care Facilities, are being distributing to residential aged care facilities nationally this week and are available to download from the MDFA website here.

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