Supporting medicine use in older people with sensory impairment

Supporting medicine use in older people with sensory impairment
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The University of Strathclyde has launched a free online course to support medicine use in elderly patients with sensory impairment.

The MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) will be offered in partnership with platform provider FutureLearn and will be available to patients with sensory impairment around the world. The course is aimed at health and social care professionals, students, family carers and people considering a career in healthcare.

The course will be taught by university academics and healthcare professionals with expertise in nursing and pharmaceuticals. The MOOC course lasts for four weeks, aiming to teach students about the medicine-related needs of elderly people with sensory impairment and how to best support these.

What is Sensory impairment?

Sensory impairment, which affects hearing and vision, is common in older people. An estimated 33% of people aged 70 years and older are affected by hearing loss and 18% are affected by vision impairment.

Sensory impairment is associated with an increased risk of mortality, as well as a range of functional difficulties. A study titled ‘Dual sensory impairment in older adults and risk of dementia from the GEM Study’ found that hearing and visual impairments in older adults increase the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.

“We have an ageing population and with this comes greater ill health. It also means people are more likely to have impairment in their sight or hearing,” said Professor Margaret Watson, of the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, who is the leader of the MOOC.

The course, which was developed in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, the University of the Highlands and Islands, and the Research Institute for the Care of Older People, is currently open for registration.

The course was funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust, through the SIPA2 (Improving the Pharmaceutical Care of Older People with Sensory Impairment) Project.

Creating an open and accessible course

Older people with a sensory impairment are likely to experience issues at every stage of their medical journey. These difficulties can affect the ordering, obtaining, storing, and administering of their medicines. This course will discuss these challenges and the potential solutions to them

“We are using lay terminology throughout the course to make it accessible to anyone with an interest in this subject. The Dunhill Medical Trust is very enthusiastic about this project and we are pleased to have their support,” said Professor Watson.

“Health and Social Care Alliance of Scotland is supportive of all learning opportunities for health and social care staff that puts older people at the heart of listening and learning. We encourage uptake of this really informative MOOC to encourage supportive approaches to medicines and older people with sensory impairment,” added Irene Oldfather, director of strategic partnerships and engagement at the Health and Social Care Alliance of Scotland.


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