ii. Effective Communication Strategies
The aim of this content focus area is to provide an overview of the importance of
using effective communication strategies in dementia care.
By the end of this content focus area, students will be able to list behaviours that
enhance communication between the health care practitioner and the person with
Effective Communication Strategies in Dementia
Morris (n.d. ) argues that "having a conversation with someone with dementia can be
a difficult undertaking" because when the person with dementia does not communicate
in ways with which the health care practitioner is familiar, the health care
practitioner may experience feelings of "anxiety and frustration" and consequently
try to manage these unpleasant feelings by using a range of stress reducing techniques
which may not always be appropriate (Morris, ). Additionally, it is important to note
that the clinical context may not promote effective communication. For example,
employing effective communication strategies with a person with dementia may be
particularly challenging in situations where the health care practitioner has to
address a number of responsibilities within a given timeframe. With this in mind,
it is important that the health care practitioner is aware of the reasons that may
make it difficult for the person with dementia to communicate, and to be highly
responsive and creative in using subsequent communication strategies. This approach to
communication in dementia care should be continued as the person with dementia finds it
increasingly difficult to communicate and the use of "warm, accepting human contact
through non-verbal channels" (Brooker, 2003, ) remains
essential in order to promote the personhood and dignity of the individual.
Activity 2: Communication Strategies Quiz
Please now access the references listed below and answer the following questions:
Question 1 : Outline strategies that could be used to promote
effective communication with the person with dementia.
Answers: Maintain a caring attitude; use appropriate body language that shows
you are interested in the person and what they have to say; promote the dignity
and self esteem of the person with dementia by listening attentively and responding
in a respectful and non-patronising manner; listen carefully to what is being said
and observe non-verbal communication as this could aid your understanding of the
meaning behind the conversation; use short and simple sentences and focus on
communicating only one idea at a time; provide adequate time for the person with
dementia to take in what you are saying; provide appropriate cues to names or
places to orientate the person with dementia; maintain a calm and non-distracting
physical environment that is conducive to communication; regularly evaluate and
document communication strategies so that all members of the care team maintain a
Resource: [1 & 3]
Question 2 : How significant is the use of body language by health
care practitioners when interacting with the person with dementia?
Answers: Body language is extremely important as it forms a very large
part of the communication process. Negative body language such as frowning
and showing impatience can be easily perceived by the person with dementia.
Question 3 : What communication styles should be avoided by the
health care practitioner when caring for a person with dementia?
Answers: Arguing with the person with dementia; ordering the person with
dementia to do something; tell the person with dementia what they can not do;
"talking down" to the person with dementia or infantalising them; posing a
lot of direct questions that require a good memory to answer; talk about the
person with dementia as though they were not present
Resource: [1 & 3]
Question 4 : In our day to day communication with others what is the
proportion of non-verbal communication?
References and Resources
Brooker, D 2003, ‘What is person-centred care in dementia?’, Reviews in Clinical Gerontology, Vol.13, Issue. 3, pp 215-222.
|Your Progress|| |