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Hospital Staff-Dementia Patients Interactions

The First Point of View

Suggested Type of Communication Technique

The problem is that some healthcare providers do not use effective approaches to communicate with patients who have dementia. In their article, Weitzel et al. (2011) propose to improve the communication with these patients with the help of such techniques as asking permissions, approaching patients directly, using their full names, keeping questions and instructions simple, avoiding orientation, giving feedback, and referring to reminiscence. These communication techniques are discussed by Weitzel et al. (2011) as appropriate to enhance interactions between the hospital staff and those patients who have dementia. The reason is the necessity of making the staff’s approach to communicating with these persons more patient-oriented or even individualized, as it is noted by the authors of the article (Weitzel et al., 2011).

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The Most Promising Technique

Even though the researchers provide a long list of techniques that can be used for communication with patients with dementia, it is possible to discuss asking permission as the most promising approach. The reason is that the application of this technique can lead to using more appropriate strategies to communicate with patients, address their needs, and respect their visions (Weitzel et al., 2011). Thus, while preparing patients for procedures or examinations, it is necessary to ask permission and address a person using his or her full name. This situation is also the right moment for explaining the purpose of procedures and steps to complete. As a result of using this communication technique, patients with dementia receive opportunities to prepare for procedures, express their desires, and become aware of the fact that their needs, interests, and ideas regarding a treatment process are respected by the staff.

The Second Point of View

Suggested Type of Communication Technique

Communication with patients who suffer from dementia can be discussed as a challenge for staff working in healthcare facilities. Certain strategies are developed and offered by researchers to overcome the communication issue. Weitzel et al. (2011) have identified asking permission, using reminiscence, and providing simple explanations as the key communication techniques to be used while interacting with patients with dementia. However, a complete list of techniques offered to nurses and other healthcare providers can include approaching patients and making eye contact, respecting their personal space during interactions, using full names, giving feedback, avoiding certain questions and phrases which can be misunderstood by patients, speaking warmly, and listening carefully (Weitzel et al., 2011). These techniques are useful to demonstrate respect for a patient and make a communication process easy.

The Most Promising Technique

The proposed list of techniques that were applied by participants of the study conducted by Weitzel et al. (2011) is long, and it includes effective strategies that should be used as a complex approach. However, using simple wording and providing simple explanations can be viewed as the most promising technique in the context of working with patients who have dementia. Those persons who suffer from the discussed disease experience difficulties with understanding messages and expressing their thoughts. Therefore, the staff should focus on using simple words with well-known meanings while communicating with these patients. In this case, it is possible to expect that patients understand a caregiver. If it is necessary, caregivers should wait for answers, repeat questions and instructions, and supplement their words with the help of some gestures. This approach based on using simple words and instructions is effective to develop communication with a patient.


Weitzel, T., Robinson, S., Mercer, S., Berry, T., Barnes, M., Plunkett, D.,… Holmes, J. (2011). Pilot testing an educational intervention to improve communication with patients with dementia. Journal for Nurses in Professional Development, 27(5), 220-226.

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