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Home modification guidelines as recommended by visually impaired people

Abbas Riazi (Lecturer in the Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran)
Mei Ying Boon (Lecturer in the School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
Catherine Bridge (Centre for Health Assets Australasia (CHAA), University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
Stephen J. Dain (Director of ORLAB and based at the School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)

Journal of Assistive Technologies

ISSN: 1754-9450

Article publication date: 30 November 2012

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an evidence‐base for home modification guidelines for people with visual impairment due to age‐related macular degeneration (AMD), from the perspective of people with AMD, by exploring the home modifications they find useful and would recommend to other people with visual impairment due to AMD as being effective.

Design/methodology/approach

People with impairments may not be aware of their own coping with inability strategies until they are asked to express their strategies. A qualitative approach using semi‐structured individual interviews was used to elicit the perspectives of people with AMD with regards to their preferred home modification interventions. Interviews were recorded and then transcribed verbatim into text for thematical analysis using Nvivo 8.

Findings

In total, 31 individuals (aged 79.1±5.6 years) with AMD and no other ocular diseases were recruited from a low vision clinic or the Macular Degeneration Foundation database in a metropolitan city. Interviewees had not received any formal home modification assessment from a government provider. Nevertheless, 70 per cent of participants stated that they undertook home modifications themselves or with the assistance of family and friends. The most important functional modifications as perceived by the participants concerned the installation of hand rails, non‐slip matting, colour contrasting safety stair nosing, single lever taps, slip resistant flooring, lift chairs and motion sensors that activated pathway lighting. Kitchens, steps and bathrooms were perceived as hazardous locations. Most participants had difficulties with reading fine‐print material on kitchen appliances, washing machines, microwave ovens and remote controls for electronic devices in the home.

Originality/value

An evidence‐base for useful home modifications as suggested by people with visual impairment was perceived to be a valuable resource for other people with visual impairment who may not yet have developed adaptive strategies. Industrial and interior designers and low vision rehabilitation services who aim to improve functionality of the home environment will also find these suggestions useful.

Keywords

Citation

Riazi, A., Ying Boon, M., Bridge, C. and Dain, S.J. (2012), "Home modification guidelines as recommended by visually impaired people", Journal of Assistive Technologies, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 270-284. https://doi.org/10.1108/17549451211285762

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited