S.O.L.V.E. for occupational therapy practitioners: solutions to optimize the low vision experience
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Approximately 185 million individuals worldwide are living with low vision (WHO, 2014). Evidence suggests that individuals with low vision may have challenges with occupations such as activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), social participation, work, functional mobility, and leisure activities (Crews & Campbell, 2004). Individuals with low vision may have difficulty adjusting to their vision loss, resulting in an increase in negative psychological outcomes such as depression (Barstow et al., 2015). Individuals with low vision may seek out support groups to connect with others with shared experiences and learn new ideas for addressing occupational performance challenges. However, evidence suggests that factors such as lack of structure and untrained peer leaders may lead to ineffective support groups (Embuldeniya et al., 2013). Occupational therapy practitioners (OTP) may be appropriately trained to address this issue. OTP have specific training to address occupational performance challenges and knowledge about group process enabling them to play a role in a support group setting. However, there are no specific and standardized guidelines to support OTP in assisting with a low vision support group. S.O.L.V.E. for Occupational Therapy Practitioners: Solutions to Optimize the Low Vision Experience is an evidence-based and theory-driven program designed to clearly define the role of OTP in a low vision support group. S.O.L.V.E. aims to make support groups immediately more productive and effective in improving occupational performance and participation outcomes for individuals with low vision in the long-term. S.O.L.V.E. was designed based on the Self-Efficacy Theory and best current evidence obtained through a thorough literature review. S.O.L.V.E. consists of six 90-minute sessions covering topics including general low vision information, use of the problem-solving approach to identify solutions to occupational performance challenges, strategies that make use of remaining vision and other senses, and information about group process and effective communication skills. S.O.L.V.E. aims to increase satisfaction in support group experience, increase knowledge of group process and leadership, and increase perceived self-efficacy with mastery of participation/performance challenges for group members. Long-term, S.O.L.V.E. is expected to increase occupational performance and participation and reduce mental health challenges of individuals with low vision.