Dual sensory loss: development of a dual sensory loss protocol and design of a randomized controlled trial

H.L. Vreeken, G.H.M.B. van Rens, S.E. Kramer, D.L. Knol, J.M. Festen, R.M.A. van Nispen

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Background: Dual sensory loss (DSL) has a negative impact on health and wellbeing and its prevalence is expected to increase due to demographic aging. However, specialized care or rehabilitation programs for DSL are scarce. Until now, low vision rehabilitation does not sufficiently target concurrent impairments in vision and hearing. This study aims to 1) develop a DSL protocol (for occupational therapists working in low vision rehabilitation) which focuses on optimal use of the senses and teaches DSL patients and their communication partners to use effective communication strategies, and 2) describe the multicenter parallel randomized controlled trial (RCT) designed to test the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the DSL protocol. Methods/design. To develop a DSL protocol, literature was reviewed and content was discussed with professionals in eye/ear care (interviews/focus groups) and DSL patients (interviews). A pilot study was conducted to test and confirm the DSL protocol. In addition, a two-armed international multi-center RCT will evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the DSL protocol compared to waiting list controls, in 124 patients in low vision rehabilitation centers in the Netherlands and Belgium. Discussion. This study provides a treatment protocol for rehabilitation of DSL within low vision rehabilitation, which aims to be a valuable addition to the general low vision rehabilitation care. Trial registration. Netherlands Trial Register (NTR) identifier: NTR2843. © 2013 Vreeken et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Article number84
JournalBMC geriatrics
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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