To evaluate caregivers' experiences and outcomes following attendance at a patient-centered group-based self-management program called “Living with Low Vision.”
Participants were caregivers of adults with low vision. A pre-post study design evaluated the impact of the program on single-item indicators that assessed levels of understanding of low vision, awareness of devices, aids and practical strategies, and questionnaires to assess confidence to deal with low vision, self-efficacy, and emotional well being. Participants formed three groups: (1) those who attended the program [intervention group 1 (IG1)] and received a take-home pack; (2) those who received a take-home pack only [intervention group 2 (IG2)]; and (3) those who received no intervention [comparison group (CG)].
Sixty participants (IG1 = 16, IG2 = 33, CG = 11) with mean (SD) age 67.2 years (SD = 14.8) were recruited. Half (n = 31; 51.7%) were the spouse of the adults with low vision. With the exception of two single-item indicators that assessed awareness of low-vision aids and practical strategies; no significant group differences on follow-up scores between the three study groups were found on any measure. Compared with CG participants, IG1 and IG2 participants demonstrated significantly greater awareness of low-vision aids and practical strategies (p < 0.05, for all). In addition, IG1 participants demonstrated significantly improved awareness of practical strategies than IG2 participants (p = 0.024). Most IG1 participants (n = 10; 62.5%) agreed that the program was relevant and helpful, and most would recommend it to other caregivers.
Involving caregivers in a patient-centered group-based self-management program and providing them with an informative take-home self-help pack improved their awareness of low-vision aids, devices, and practical strategies. Our findings should be followed up with larger studies to clearly identify optimal ways of providing caregivers with information and problem-solving skills to effectively manage the demands of low vision.