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The use of informal care by people with vision impairment

Purpose: To estimate and characterize the use of informal care by people with vision impairment in Portugal.; Methods: A total of 546 visually impaired individuals were recruited from Portuguese hospitals. Clinical information was obtained from medical records, socio-demographic details and informal care use were collected during face-to-face interviews. In addition, participants responded to a functional vision questionnaire (activity inventory) to assess their visual ability. Logistic regression was used to determine independent factors associated with informal care use and linear regression was used to determine independent predictors of intensity of informal care use.; Results: Informal care was reported by 39.6% of the participants. The probability of reporting informal care was higher in non-married, those with comorbidities, with lower visual ability and worse visual acuity. The median number of caregivers' hours per year was 390 (mean = 470; 95%CI = 488-407), which represent a median opportunity cost of €2,586. Visual ability was the only independent predictor of number of hours of informal care received.; Conclusions: Informal care was frequently used by individuals with impaired vision. Improving visual ability of people with impaired vision when performing valued activities may reduce the burden of visual loss at personal and societal level. This could be achieved with person-centred visual rehabilitation.

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Public Library of Science
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