Hearing loss has been identified as a major modifiable risk factor for dementia with a Lancet study suggesting that 8% of dementia cases could be prevented with proper hearing loss management.
Care UK’s Hear Well project aimed to find out whether residents with hearing problems, who account for 20.4% of all those living in the company’s care homes, could be helped by nurses trained in otoscopy and ear wax removal.
“We suddenly realised that none of our 9,000 residents had had their ears checked since the pandemic and perhaps for longer than that,” said Care UK’s head of nursing care and dementia Suzanne Mumford.
Outcomes included significantly improved interaction with residents, who came out of their rooms more often and exhibited less distressed and agitated behaviour, which resulted in less use of psychotropic drugs for them.
The project won the Nursing Times Social Care Award in November.