Abstract

OBJECTIVE. To examine whether vision impairment is a predictor of intensity of occupational therapy utilization and outcomes in a sample of older adults ages ≥55 receiving subacute rehabilitation in a long-term care setting.

METHOD. Data for this cohort study were collected by means of structured, in-person interviews with 100 older adult rehabilitation patients at admission to a subacute unit in a long-term care facility and by medical chart review after discharge.

RESULTS. Regression analyses indicated that after controlling for sociodemographic, health, and social support variables, worse contrast sensitivity was a significant predictor of decreased time in occupational therapy, and worse visual acuity was a significant predictor of higher functional dependency at discharge.

CONCLUSION. Vision impairment may prevent full use of occupational therapy and hinder occupational therapy efficacy in subacute care settings. Study findings underscore the importance of developing low vision rehabilitation interventions that can be delivered in conjunction with more traditional subacute rehabilitation.

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