Poster Presentations

P-6: Individuals with Sensory and Cognitive Impairments Face Additional Challenges Compared to Those with Cognitive Difficulties Alone:  Analysis of interRAI Data for Home Care and Long-term Care

N. Williams*, D.M. Guthrie, J.G.S. Davidson, N. Phillips, W. Wittich

Wilfrid Laurier University

We examined demographic and clinical characteristics among a group of older adults (65+) assessed with an interRAI instrument who were receiving home care (HC; n=291,824) or residing in a long-term care (LTC) facility (n=110,587) in Ontario. 

In each sample, individuals were separated into eight mutually exclusive sub-groups based on the presence of sensory and/or cognitive impairment (CI).  One group had no impairment, three had only sensory impairments (either hearing, vision, or a combined loss in both vision and hearing [dual sensory impairment or DSI]) and the rest had a combination of sensory and CI.  

The rate of all three impairments (i.e., CI+DSI) was 21.3% in HC and rose to 29.2% in LTC. Compared with the other sub-groups, these individuals were more likely to report loneliness, have reduced social engagements and greater functional impairment.  In both care settings, clients with CI+DSI were more likely to experience communication problems compared to clients with CI alone.  For example, HC clients with CI+DSI, compared to clients with only CI, were more likely to have difficulty understanding others (38.0% vs. 25.1%). 

Sensory and cognitive impairments are highly prevalent in both HC and LTC settings and are potentially modifiable making them an important target for interventions to reduce negative health outcomes.