Screening for sensory impairment in older adults: Training and practice of occupational therapists in Quebec

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Abstract

Background.

The goal of occupational therapy education is to train generalists who can refine their knowledge after graduation according to the requirements of the professional environment. However, it is currently unclear to what extent sensory screening should be included in the educational curricula.

Purpose.

The purpose of this study was to examine the sensory screening education for and practice by occupational therapists working with older adults.

Method.

A cross-sectional survey was used to collect data from members of the Quebec Order of Occupational Therapists. Descriptive statistics were used in the analysis.

Findings.

Data from 102 respondents indicated that training on sensory impairment–related topics was minimal and in stark contrast to the proportion who reported serving clients with a visual (92%), hearing (84%), or combined impairment (53%).

Implications.

Occupational therapy considers numerous aspects of physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being. The question remains as to what extent vision and hearing health should take their place among these priorities.

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