The article “Pilot testing an educational intervention to improve communication with patients with dementia” states that one-quarter of all patients over 75 years old have a secondary diagnosis of dementia. Also, it states that by the year 2040, the diagnosis is likely to become twice as common. To assist these patients, the author proposes an educational program that would teach proper communication techniques to use with older patients with dementia (Weitzel et al., 2011).
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The article selects thirteen communication techniques that could be implemented in the educational program. The author points out that the majority of literature on the subject suggests that a direct approach is necessary for these communications. It includes making eye contact and approaching in a calm and pleasant manner. The nurse should use the full name of the patient and also introduce themselves with a full name too. The personal space of the patient must be respected. The nurse should always ask permission from the patient. Positive feedback can be beneficial for successful care outcomes.
The questions should be kept simple. Pronouns and the word “don’t” should be avoided, and the phrases rephrased. Orientation questions should be avoided due to the possible frustration they may cause to the patient. However, reminiscence can have a positive effect on the patient. The nurse should always direct communication toward the patient when their family members are present. Lastly, the author suggests that the nurse should listen closely to the patient as it may reveal information that would be helpful in the future (Weitzel et al., 2011).
Out of the presented techniques, I believe that asking the permission of the patient is the most promising. The article states that such patients suffer greatly from neutral communication. Having the nurse address the patient like that will allow the patient to feel engaged instead of ignored.
Dementia is a difficult condition and can complicate the process of receiving care. The techniques provided in the article appear to be effective. Perhaps this type of education program should be implemented soon.
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 (JNSD), 27(5), 220-226.