Keeping Connected

The Essential Guide to Keeping the Caregiver Informed

The Caregiver's Role

As we near the holidays this winter, we are wishing everyone a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year! Although it may a difficult time period, the role of the caregiver is essentially one of the most important factors in providing an individual with a comfortable lifestyle. Whether the caregiver is associated under a professional or personal consideration, new responsibilities will develop and should be carefully handled. As the process of providing personal care will typically consist of time-consuming, overwhelming, and stressful events, the entirety of the experience can often times be rewarding (Pompon, Burns, & Kendall, 2015). In recognition of visual impairment, one may understand that the gift of sight is truly one of the greatest gifts an individual may have. Unfortunately, under specific circumstances, In handling an individual who has been diagnosed with visual impairment, the necessities such as bathing, medicine administration, meal preparations, hygiene upkeep, and support will be required (Pompon, Burns, & Kendall, 2015).

Status of the Patient

In regards to the patient, the caregiver should be informed of the potential effected areas to help one connected to the patient. Under careful examination, the patient's (Kailee) file states that she has lost her vision due to Stargardt's muscular degeneration. Ultimately, this has lead to blindness of both eyes, recognized as bilateral blindness (Stifferlin & Park, 2015). As this condition typically affects 1 in 8,000 individuals, it will commonly occur amongst the younger population (Sifferlin & Park, 2015). The condition is associated with deterioration of the cells feeding the retina, ultimately causing the retina to eventually die Consequently, without the retina, the eye will not be able to process light and send any signals needed to the brain (Sifferlin & Park, 2015). The process of diagnosis consisted of testing each eye individually and then measuring the visual activity and peripheral vision.


Caring for an individual facing visual impairment will be followed by some abrupt hardships faced by the individual and family involved. As the individual is not only handling the new diagnosis, they are also dealing with the idea of not seeing the things that they could once see. Unlike most conditions, the loss of eye sight is amongst one of the most challenging events for an individual to handle and process. A psychologist, researcher, and advocate for blind individuals named Berthold Lowenfield was able to hypothesize that blindness may set three major limitations on an individual including:


  1. Loss of range and variety of experiences
  2. Loss of the ability to get around (mobility)
  3. Loss of control of the environment and the self in relation to it

(McCarthy, 2015).


As one can see, these three areas are essential to human nature, and without these three basic areas, one may find it difficult to adapt. But, with the essential help of the caregiver, the individual will learn to view the world through other senses; particularly hearing and touch (McCarthy, 2015).

Copy of MRI

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The Brain

As the new endurance of living a life with a visual impairment will be challenging, recognizing noticeable changes in the brain will be extremely important. As blindness causes structural changes in the brain, the observation of specific changes will only be visible through close microscopic observation. According to Science News (2009), the volume of visual regions amongst the brain are smaller in comparison to those of individuals who have sight (para 1). Furthermore, for the non-visual areas, an individual who is blind will show increased volume in these areas in comparison to the low volume of sighted individuals (Science News, 2009). For instance, amongst studies, the frontal lobe was found to be enlarged. In other considerable areas, researchers have also found a decrease in the formulation of myelin. Myelin is considered as the shift that surrounds nerves that allows for faster communication amongst the nervous system (Science News, 2009). Lastly, as the change in myelin occurs, there is an alteration in the corpus collosm leading to an alteration of transmitting visual information between the hemispheres located in the brain (Science News, 2009).

Helpful Considerations

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In consideration of potential helpful considerations to keep in mind, one may observe the guidance of a seeing eye dog can help address some of the needs of an individual who may have lost their sight. The guide dog is recognized as a mobility aid that enables individuals to travel in a safe manor. Guidance will typically include allowing individuals to go around obstacles, through crowds, stop at stairs or curbs, and possibly opening and closing doors required in entrances or exit doors (Stifferlin & Parks, 2015). If you are interested or have any further questions, please feel free to contact 1800-552-3320 or email dogsavor@gmail.com. In addition to the contact information provided, visiting the following link or checking out the video listed below can help represent a visual image of the program.

An Extraordinary Dog to Help Me Be Ordinary
Check this website out!

Learn about seeing eye dogs and the appropriate admissions for gaining a new partner for a loved one, friend, or patient.

Treatment Options

  • The Bionic Eye
  • Stem-Cell Injections
  • Gene Therapy
(McCarthy, 2015)
Man sees with 'bionic eye'
Click here!

If you have further questions or would like to continue building knowledge on the subject of blindness, this site is a great way to explore the condition future. In addition, potential donations can also be made.

References

McCarthy, T. (2015). Psychology of touch and blindness. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 109(1), 73-76


Pompon, R.H., Burns, M., & Kendall, D. (2015). On the job make it work: Counseling the caregiver. ASHA Leader, 20 (7), 30-32 3p.


Science News. (2009 November 19). Blindness causes structural brain changes, implying brain can re-ogranize itself to adapt. University of California. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091118143259.htm


Sifferlin, A., & Park, A. (2015 September 9). Stepping into the light. Time 186(11). p54-56.