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Picking up your parent or spouse from the hospital can bring feelings of worry and anxiety, especially if they are blind or experiencing visual impairment.

Even more concerning is the fact that hospital discharge plans don't always have the specific needs of a person with low vision in mind.

A study by medical professionals reveals aging people with vision loss are likely to experience re-hospitalization and usually need costly emergency department services post-hospitalization.

Hospital Discharge with the Blind in Mind

At Florida Agencies Serving the Blind, we believe hospitals serve our community better by providing useful toolkits for a successful transition home.

We advocate for every person to have a meaningful level of contact with a healthcare worker who knows how to recognize possible vision loss as well as a vision impairment specialist partner. However, we do understand that may not always be available.

An alternative option is for a family member or close friend to advocate on their behalf. Some items to ask for in your hospital discharge plan include:

• Medication instructions in large print or Braille

• Reviewing how patients can identify their medications

• Printing at-home care instructions in large print or Braille

• Getting information from a local agency specializing in services to the blind and visually impaired

These can prove to be valuable resources to you, the patient, and any home care professionals involved for a safe transition home.

Unsure if your loved one is experiencing vision loss?

Having difficulty reading small medication bottles, recognizing faces, or being in a strange hospital room can be confusing, or even disorienting. While some medical professionals may think this confusion and disorientation are signs of cognitive impairment, these could also very well be indications of visual impairment.

You know your parent or spouse better than someone who just met him or her. If you have reason to doubt the symptoms are related to dementia or Alzheimer's, say something. Remember, many people don’t want to admit they are not seeing well, or think it is just a part of getting older. Sometimes, if finances are a concern, this may impact their decision to see an eye doctor.

In Florida, for example, research shows about 2 million Floridians are currently living with vision loss while only a half-million Floridians have Alzheimer's, according to www.alz.org. That means it's more likely that someone acting in such a manner has severe vision loss.

Working Towards A Common Goal

Cooperation between hospitals, home care professionals such as Home Care Assistance, and non-profit organizations such as Florida ASB is essential in making hospital discharge protocols for those experiencing vision loss more effective and relevant.

Both Florida ASB and Home Care Assistance have a clear path forward as an alliance, providing vision rehabilitation services to seniors. Florida ASB offers free healthcare worker training opportunities, resources for the blind, help with finding or even paying for eye care, and more. While Home Care Assistance professionals provide services to meet the challenges of transitioning home from the hospital and beyond.

For more information on Florida ASB, you can contact us through our website, www.beyondvisionloss.org.

About the Author(s)

Over 45 years in nonprofit management and program development. Currently managing a consortium of 17 non-profits who are the expert providers of vision rehabilitation--moving beyond vision loss--to people living with low vision or blindness in Florida. Rebranded and developing business plan and strategic plan. Previously, led Lighthouse of Broward for 11+ years, during which time we earned the coveted 4 Star Charity Navigator designation. Started first nonprofit computer instruction for blind individuals in Miami and built collaborations with dozens of corporations. Started first vision rehabilitation program in Fort Lauderdale. Achieved full reaccreditation of programs for maximum terms consistently since 1980s. Implemented scientifically valid evaluation of all programs in 2006. Board member, officer and chair of numerous nonprofit or community committees or boards locally, statewide in Florida and nationally. Published author of professionally reviewed articles, speaker at local-state-national conferences.

Having spent most of her 10-year journalism career at CNN, Chloe has sharpened her production skills meeting the high-pressure demands of breaking news coverage while working with top-tier celebrities, politicians, and media professionals. In her time with CNN, she interviewed President Obama, wrote hundreds of financial, political, and heartwarming community-related articles for CNN. Chloe has been awarded two Peabody Awards, and with CNN, directed the launch of CNNPolitics.com and its social platforms. She later became Director of Global Communications for a global marketing firm, and has now founded 18PR Pro, her own PR agency based in South Florida, where she collaborates with the brightest minds across the health and wellness industry.

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Home Care Assistance can help you or a loved one today. Contact us now for your complimentary in-home assessment.

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