Exploring the sensory screening experiences of nurses working in long-term care homes with residents who have dementia: A qualitative study

Fiona Höbler, Xochil Argueta-Warden, Miriam Rodríguez-Monforte, Astrid Escrig-Pinol, Walter Wittich, Katherine S. McGilton

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The prevalence of vision and hearing loss is higher amongst older individuals with dementia, as well as higher in long-term care settings than in the wider community. However, the incidence of sensory impairment is underreported and often goes untreated. In this study, we aimed to understand nurses' current experiences of screening and caring for long-term care residents who have dementia and sensory impairment. Methods: As part of a larger study on the sensory screening of long-term care residents with dementia, an environmental scan was conducted with front-line healthcare providers. We report here on the findings from the content analysis of individual, semi-structured interviews with nurses working in two long-term care homes in Southern Ontario, Canada. Twenty regulated nurses, including designated resident assessment coordinators, working full- or part-time with individuals who have dementia, participated across the two sites. All interviews were transcribed, and their contents reviewed and coded for themes by means of inductive thematic analysis. Results: Following a systematic and recursive approach, three analysts identified several themes relating to: 1) the sensory screening process, 2) communication strategies, and 3) quality of life, sensory loss, and dementia. Participants reported on the strengths and limitations of screening procedures, what improvements should be made, which informal strategies are effective, and the continued professional development that is needed. Conclusions: Nurses demonstrated insight into the facilitators and barriers to effective screening and care of residents with dementia and sensory impairments, and expressed the need for further education, more suitable screening tools, and formalised accountability within the screening process for vision and hearing loss in these long-term care residents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number235
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2018


  • Dementia
  • Hearing loss
  • Long-term care
  • Nursing
  • Screening
  • Sensory loss
  • Visual impairment


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