"We're just winging it". Identifying targets for intervention to improve the provision of hearing support for residents living with dementia in long-term care: an interview study with care staff

Disability and rehabilitation

Disabil Rehabil. 2023 Aug 29:1-11. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2023.2245746. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: Hearing loss and dementia are common in long-term care home (LTCH) residents, causing communication difficulties and worsened behavioural symptoms. Hearing support provided to residents with dementia requires improvement. This study is the first to use the Behaviour Change Wheel (BCW) to identify barriers and propose interventions to improve the provision of hearing support by LTCH staff.

METHODS: Semi-structured interviews with 10 staff members were conducted. Transcripts were analysed according to the BCW's Theoretical Domains Framework alongside reflective thematic analysis. Relevant intervention functions and exemplar interventions were proposed.

RESULTS: Staff believed hearing support to be beneficial to residents (Beliefs about Consequences) but lacked knowledge of hearing loss management (Knowledge). Poor collaborations between LTCHs and audiology (Environmental Context and Resources), led to despondency, and apprehension about traditional hearing aids for residents (Optimism). Despite feeling responsible for hearing support, staff lacked personal accountability (Social/Professional Role and Identity).

CONCLUSIONS: Future interventions should include staff Training (on hearing support), Education (on the consequences of unsupported hearing loss), Enablement (dementia-friendly hearing devices), Incentivisation and Modelling (of Hearing Champions) and Environmental Restructuring (flexible audiology appointments to take place within the LTCH). Interventions should be multi-faceted to boost the capabilities, opportunities and motivations of LTCH staff.

PMID:37641847 | DOI:10.1080/09638288.2023.2245746