Communication with Dementia Patients

Topics: Communication, Health care provider, Nonverbal communication Pages: 5 (1832 words) Published: October 20, 2010
Communication is usually taken for granted in our every day to day living as we use it without thought. Good communication skills are needed in the workplace and especially with nursing staff to and from patients when giving first hand care. Good or bad communication can make there experience within the health care setting a positive or negative one and can leave a lasting impression. A good health care provider can use there communication skills to put a patient at ease with a few comforting words or gestures, a lack of positive communication in the health care setting could leave the patient feeling neglected, ignored and not valued as a patient. By successfully communication we are able to convey our thoughts and ideas effectively and when not successful the thoughts and ideas that we meant to send do not necessarily reflect what we think, causing a communication breakdown and creating roadblocks that stand in our way of our goals both personally and professionally. During this essay there will be reflection upon two main keys strategies that nurses can achieve to make a difference in a communication breakdown in the health care setting with patients such as dementia. The problems that can be associated with this and also and overview of the illness of dementia. When talking about dementia it is usually described as a syndrome which effects the brain. It is a very complicated illness and there are a lot of symptoms and problems that come along with this degenerative disease. One of the main problems of these being memory loss and thinking clearly. Patients can often forget simple things like what time of day it is the names familiar people and events in their life. They can also not realize that some activities he/she engages in are ones that now require supervision, such as cooking, ironing, or bathing. So it is important for the nurses to communicate this with the patient that the may need some help in doing self care. Communication becomes a major problem to patients with dementia as they find it increasing difficult to express themselves or think of the correct words to put a sentence together. All the confusion of this illness for the patient can be very distressing and can lead to the patient becoming depressed and feeling isolated. Fits of temper and outbursts can accompany this. Patients can wander or becomes disoriented in a new environment like a hospital or at home. Patients with dementia often find themselves worrying and don’t often like to be left alone and comfort can be a great help to them. Patients with dementia are usually found in the elderly people over the age of sixty. There are several things which can cause dementia in a patient one of these being Alzheimer’s .One website states that `Alzheimer's disease causes 50% to 60% of all dementias. But researchers have found that two nervous diseases, which were originally incorrectly diagnosed as Alzheimer's, are emerging as major causes of dementia: Lewy body disease and Pick's disease` this has been though to be because of loss of nerve cells in the brain`. (, ) Head injuries and alcohol dependence can also bring on this illness. The two main types of communication used in the health care setting by nursing staff are verbal and non communication. Non verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication in particular with patients who have dementia as sometimes there language breaks down and is non existent. Non verbal communication with dementia patients is very important as they may have lost the sound of speech. Wordless messages can be sent and received using this method from patient to nurse. Gestures such as your facial expression, body language and posture are important in this form of communication. Verbal communication is just as important, speaking style with patients of dementia should differ from a mentally well patient. The two main strategies which will be reflected upon...
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