Alzheimer's disease - Effective Communication Techniques
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Sometimes asking a "Why" question can get to the reason behind a repetitive question and decrease its occurrence. (i.e. "Why are you concerned about what time it is?")
Reassure through words. Remind the patient who you are and that you will take care of him.
Listen to the patient. Try to find the key thought and take note of the feeling or emotion being expressed along with the spoken word.
Do not appear rushed or tense. The patient will become tense and agitated.
When helping with personal care, tell the patient what you are doing each step of the way. Add occasional social or reassuring comments to avoid "task-focused talk" only.
Give directions simply and one at a time.
Don't test the patient's memory. Erase the words, "Don't you remember?" from your vocabulary.
State in positive terms. Constant use of "no" or commands increases resistance.
Use concrete language.
Always repeat your question exactly the same way.
Give the person plenty of time to respond to your question (20 seconds).
Use non-verbal cues: a reassuring touch, a smile, a demonstration stating the emotion.
Keep facial expression warm and friendly.
Keep tone of voice low and pleasant.
Be specific. Use the name of the person or object instead of "this" or "they."
Use short, simple sentences.
Maintain good eye contact.
Always approach from the front.
Always begin by identifying yourself and calling the patient's name.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute on Aging. www.nia.nih.gov
Effective Communication Techniques