Background: Older hospitalized adults with hearing impairment are vulnerable to adverse outcomes. These patients are at risk for being labeled confused, experiencing a loss of control, experiencing heightened fear and anxiety, and misunderstanding the plan of care.
Objective: This qualitative study sought to assess the hospital experience of older adults with hearing impairment in order to formulate suggestions for improving nursing care.
Methods: Open-ended interviews were conducted with eight participants, ages 70 to 95 years, who were identified as having a hearing impairment and were admitted as inpatients to a midwestern medical center.
Results: Through data analysis, three common themes emerged: health care communication difficulties, passivity and vulnerability, and frustration with family.
Conclusions: Nurses will benefit from having a deeper understanding of the hospital experience of this vulnerable population. Efforts to address their needs can be accomplished through the following nursing actions: assess, accommodate, educate, empower, and advocate.