Description of Barriers to Low Vision Rehabilitation: A Qualitative Approach
Structured Abstract: Introduction: This study sought to describe and better understand barriers to accessing low vision rehabilitation services. Methods: A qualitative description research paradigm was employed. Focus group participants were recruited through their involvement in the Montreal Barriers Study in Montreal, Canada. Six focus groups (n = 21 participants) were conducted to assess perspectives (both positive and negative) about accessing low vision rehabilitation services, and in particular the barriers to accessing these services. Interview transcripts were prepared and analyzed using content analysis. Results: Analyses revealed barriers inherent to the person (perceived ability to comfortably engage in activities of daily living and gradual participatory losses); the clinic (inefficiencies in educating clientele about low vision rehabilitation services, and problems and dissatisfaction associated with ophthalmic consultations); and society (fears associated with having stereotypes applied and transportation is the setting where clashes occur). Discussion: The generated themes revealed barriers to low vision rehabilitation services inherent to the individual, to interactions with vision health professionals, and to interactions with the sighted community. A representative model is proposed. The model design highlights three elements arising from the analyses: the time elapsed since the onset of the vision loss; the complex interactions between the individual, the healthcare setting, and the society; and the overall dynamic nature of help-seeking. Implications for practitioners: There is a need for improved communication between consumers and providers to facilitate clients seeking out low vision rehabilitation services. Providers should solicit user perspectives and attempt to achieve a good fit between client needs and services adopted.