Supporting someone with Dual Sensory Impairment

COVID-19 Response

COVID-19: Hi-VisUK resources to help you support someone with DSI

Guides, Resources, Free Online Learning

This Hi-VisUK information and resources page is designed to help those supporting or caring for an older person with Dual Sensory Impairment (DSI) during this COVID-19 emergency and the Government’s guidance on social distancing and social isolating.

Our guides and resources are for any person with DSI, their family, friends, neighbours, carers and care organisations, social care and health care providers, pharmacies.

The guides help you quickly understand the impacts of DSI and the extra challenges brought about by the COVID-19 emergency of keeping them and you safe and still having effective communication.

Undetected DSI

It is possible that the older person you care for has undetected DSI. Our guides and our online learning help you to spot those signs quickly and communicate safely. Play your part also by ensuring their DSI is added to their social care or health care record, a legal duty under the Accessible Information Standard.


Covering a range of everyday situations they illustrate the potential challenges facing a DSI person and those who need to see and communicate with them during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Stay safe

How do you both stay safe and communicate well? A person with DSI relies heavily on seeing your face and your lip patterns to help understand what you are saying to them but if you are wearing a mask what do you do?

Communicate well

How do you give your staff and volunteers the confidence and knowledge of different ways to improve communication whilst keeping a safe distance away?

Get the Guides

English and British Sign Language versions are just a click away! Simply click on each guide link below…

The Hi-VisUK Guide Series

Dual Sensory Impairment

Age related dual sensory impairment, a largely hidden condition, affects an older person’s ability to: move safely around the home; access all sorts of information, including the latest Government or local authority COVID-19 updates and advice. They will struggle to maintain two-way communication such as asking for help or to arrange services.

One of the main reasons DSI is largely hidden is because older people living in their own homes, who enjoy the support of family, friends or carers mask or soften many of its impacts.

COVID-19 and the requirement for over 70s to self-isolate, means these normal safety nets, and others, have been taken away. They will then quickly realise the impacts of their DSI on their daily lives.

Many people over 70 will have either sight loss, hearing loss, or both (DSI). This means they may struggle to communicate verbally. They often struggle using the telephone, reading, watching TV, listening to a radio or using the internet.

This means that the information that they receive about COVID-19 and the guidance could be very limited.

Our Hi-VisUK information, advice and resource guides are free to use and to share. Indeed we encourage you to share our guides and our website address to anyone you know with an elderly relative or neighbour. Click on the guide links below to view each guide.

Share them with your colleagues and with organisations you know who work with older people too.

This way you can help spread the support older people with DSI receive.

Join our learning community by enrolling on our free online DSI awareness course. Details are below. The more you know about DSI the more you can help someone.

British Sign Language (BSL) video guides to COVID-19 & DSI

All our COVID-19 & DSI guides are available in BSL video format. Click on each guide link below to access the BSL version for that guide.

Worried about someones sight and hearing? Try our 10-minute ID Tool

COVID-19 might reveal for the first time how an older persons failing sight and hearing is impacting on their every day lives. How do you check if they might have DSI?

Try our 10-minute checklist – it might just make a world of difference.

As we get older we will all experience problems with our sight and hearing, simply because we are living longer.

Chances are someone close to you – family, friend or neighbour, is finding life increasingly difficult now that both their sight and hearing are affected. Chances are they don’t realise themselves how much it is affecting their daily life.

If you know someone (or if that someone is you) who may need help, contact Hi-VisUK, details on the Contact page, for free impartial advice.

Just click “Use our ID tool” below.

Did you know, anyone struggling with both their sight and hearing can ask to see a specially trained person from their local authority to look at their needs and talk about what might help?

Learn about Dual Sensory Impairment with our free online course

COVID-19 means it is even more urgent that you understand DSI – our online course is quick and can be done in short bites

Learning about DSI is even more urgent with COVID-19

Thanks to the support of the National Lottery Community Fund we are able to provide free, practical online learning to help you get the COVID-19 message across and safely support someone with DSI.

Learn how to spot the signs of DSI, to understand the impact this has on your elderly relative or neighbour, customer or service user, patient or care home resident. Learn how you can best safely interact with them.

Learn practical steps you can take to improve communication and make information more accessible, and find out where you can go for further local help and advice.

This will help ensure some of our most vulnerable elderly people are kept safe during this emergency.

Fast, flexible learning

Complete the whole course in one go, 60 minutes, or do it in 10-15minute “bites” to fit with your work and life. Revisit sections as often as you wish. On successful completion of the whole course you will be able to access your CPD certificate.

Easy to use, packed with content

This flexible course is packed with practical information including colourful video simulations to help you understand the impact of major eye conditions, audio simulations to help you understand the impact of major hearing conditions, short quizzes to help you check your progress, tips on communication, and the Hi-VisUK identification toolkit.

Watch the short course introduction movie above, visit our site, enrol – it’s free! SIMPLY CLICK HERE.

Evaluation Findings: our training really works!

“It is also noted that almost 40% of respondents reported finding the training useful in their personal lives with family, friends or neighbours who are deafblind. This indicates added value to the training increasing the numbers of deafblind people being supported either informally or formally in a work setting.”

“Much of this equipment (to support an older deafblind person) is small scale, inexpensive and practical yet deafblind people appear to have little awareness of the availability of such equipment. The training has raised awareness of carers, support staff and others, with the result that deafblind people are beginning to benefit from the use of such equipment. This finding is now being confirmed by deafblind people.”

“…there are also early indications that the knowledge/experience and changing practices not only improve services and support but could ultimately create cost savings/save money…respondents reported that their organisation had been able to save money as a result of the knowledge gained in the training.”

“A large majority of respondents who have completed one or more of the training courses report positively as to the design, quality and content of the training. Respondents also report that the training has improved not only their knowledge and understanding but also their confidence in working with and supporting deafblind people. This increase in confidence appears to be pivotal in how they do this.”