The research team has suggested a communication technique that is based on the principle of an individualized approach. It implies that communication should be as simple and positive as possible. Importantly, the approach implies avoiding a neutral form of interaction since research has evidenced that it produces a strongly negative effect on the patient. The strategy that the authors have suggested requires from all healthcare specialists who have any short-term or long-term contacts with dementia patients to be as accurate and thoughtful as possible (Weitzel et al., 2011).
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In particular, the technique implies that specialists should ask for an individual’s permission prior to committing any actions. In addition, it is essential to keep communication simple and articulate the messages in an understandable manner (Weitzel et al., 2011). Moreover, the approach includes using reminiscence. It is helpful when specialists need to obtain some information from an individual’s long-term memory. Apart from that, the authors advise using slow and simple gestures not to produce the feeling of agitation in a person with dementia.
Several techniques seem the most promising. They are the avoidance of saying “don’t” and orientation questions as well as direct communication with the patient instead of his or her family members. As a rule, patients with dementia easily get scared, disoriented, or anxious (Weitzel et al., 2011). If they feel that they cannot control their actions and are limited in their personal space, it might cause additional fear in them. Moreover, if the caregiver converses with family members instead of the patient, it might cause a feeling of anger or distrust (Weitzel et al., 2011). Therefore, the techniques proposed by the authors ensure that patient’s rights are respected and that the healthcare setting is as patient-friendly and secure as possible.
Weitzel, T., Robinson, S., Mercer, S., Berry, T., Barnes, M., Plunkett, D.,…Kirkbride, G. (2011). Pilot testing an educational intervention to improve communication with patients with dementia. Journal for Nurses in Staff Development, 27(5), 220-226.