Atul Jaiswal is a CIHR Health System Impact post-doctoral fellow in Vision Science in the Wittich Vision Impairment Research Laboratory at the School of Optometry, University of Montreal, Canada, in collaboration with the research partner organization “the Institut Nazareth et Louis-Braille (INLB),” Montreal. His scholarship aims to advance the knowledge in the field of combined vision and hearing impairment [referred to as dual sensory impairment (DSI) or deafblindness] and generate evidence to inform global health and rehabilitation care practice. His postdoc work aims to explore ways to prepare the Canadian healthcare system to meet the needs of older adults with DSI by addressing the barriers to health services and health information during and post COVID-19. He obtained his Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science from Queen’s University, where his thesis focused on identifying ways to enhance the participation of individuals with DSI in society. He is also a recipient of the MITACS Accelerate Fellowship to pursue a research study on how best to integrate vision loss rehabilitation in the Canadian healthcare system. He is a trained occupational therapist as well as a rehabilitation social worker with experience of more than ten years in the field of disability rehabilitation. He received a gold medal during his Master’s degree in Disability Studies and was instrumental in initiating a successful advocacy campaign for people with disabilities. At Queen’s, he delivered his TED talk on “Novel applications and considerations of Wearable technologies” in the field of healthcare and rehabilitation at TEDxQueensUSalon 2017.
Strategies to provide rehabilitation care to older adults with concurrent hearing and vision impairments during COVID-19 pandemic
Geneviève Lizé is a clinician with over two decades of experience in the rehabilitation field. She is a trained occupational therapist, with most of her work in the field of sensory impairment. In her previous role, she was the Head of Service of Research and Innovation and Service adaptation de l’information et des médias substituts (AIMS), CISSS de la Montérégie-Centre Institut Nazareth et Louis-Braille (INLB) for two years. In her current role at INLB, she supports and leads the different disability programs and related research initiatives. She has extensive knowledge and interest in car driving evaluation and vehicle adaptation, clinical-administrative process; assessment and development of organizations; and knowledge transfer in the field of vision impairment.
Bernadette Gavouyère is a Specialist in clinical activities, Deafblind Program, Institut Nazareth et Louis Braille of the CISSS de la Montérégie-Center. After completing her M.Sc., Vision Sciences, she has been working in the field of sensory impairment with a particular focus on the impact of visual strategies in performing oculo-manual tasks in a person with Usher type 2 syndrome and communication for individuals with deafblindness. She has over 15 years of work experience in the rehabilitation of adults and older adults with vision and hearing impairment. She is also the main coordinator of Community of Practice in Deafblindness (http://cdpsurdicecite.org/), an innovative virtual knowledge exchange platform led by the joint deafblind program of the INLB of the CISSS de la Montérégie-Centre and the Raymond-Dewar CRDP of the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal. he is also a clinical member of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of Greater Montreal (CRIR).
Atul Jaiswal, École d’Optométrie (School of Optometry), Canada
Geneviève Lizé, CISSS de la Montérégie-Centre Institut Nazareth et Louis-Braille, Canada
Bernadette Gavouyère, CISSS de la Montérégie-Centre Institut Nazareth et Louis-Braille, Canada
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected how we live our lives and provide care to older adults. In this unprecedented moment during which the world is searching for ways of overcoming the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, older adults have been disproportionately affected by the direct consequences of the pandemic and associated social distancing regulations. Within the elderly population, older adults with sensory impairments such as vision and hearing impairments are facing additional structural barriers in accessing care and rehabilitation services.
The population worldwide is ageing rapidly, and Canada is no exception. By 2036, one in four adults in Canada will be above 65 years of age. Analysis of the Canadian Longitudinal Studies on Ageing 2016 data indicates that up to 1.1 million Canadians experience some forms of concurrent hearing and vision challenges (referred to as dual sensory loss/DSL). DSL is a condition that is more complex and disabling than hearing or vision loss alone. Given this distinct impairment, challenges in communication, accessing information, and mobility hinder many aspects of access to healthcare. The Institut Nazareth et Louis-Braille du CISSS de la Montérégie-Centre (INLB) is a part of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of Metropolitan Montreal (CRIR), which is the largest rehabilitation research centers in Canada. The INLB’s programme de surdicetité (Deafblindness Program), a shared rehabilitation program designed to integrate the needs of clients with DSL, is co-coordinated with the Institut Raymond-Dewar du CIUSSSS Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, another CRIR rehabilitation center specialized in hearing impairment. The mission of INLB is to spearhead the development of rehabilitation interventions that promote the functioning and social participation of their clients with DSL across all levels of impairment and all ages. While assisting clients with DSL, it has often become evident that there is an utmost need for more research and development of emerging technologies that could benefit their clients with DSL in improving their functioning and quality of life.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the INLB adapted their strategies and interventions to meet the needs of their DSL clientele in addition to meeting the provincial government’s policy responses. The aim of the workshop is to make professionals in the ageing field aware of the challenges faced by the INLB organization and then present micro- and macro-level strategic solutions that they used to adapt to the changing situation. We will present the telehealth related challenges faced by older adults with DSL and pinpoint to the adaptations that were made. The workshop would emphasize the best strategies that worked despite the evolving public health policy regulations. The workshop would be interactive by using case examples from the INLB older clientele with DSL and how they were served during the pandemic. Moreover, using the findings from a COVID-19 research study that INLB is supporting, information will also be presented on barriers to health information and tele health for older adults with DSL in Canada.