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This Policy summarises the communication strategies that may be used by Care Staff to ensure effective contact with service users:


An individual with Dementia may have difficulty in communicating their views, wants and needs. The following strategies and techniques should be practised by Care Staff to ensure a good level of communication between staff and service user. This will form part of the Staff Induction Training for Person-Centred Dementia Care.


1. General advice on communicating strategies:


  • Ensure that you have the service user’s full attention before you speak - no undue distractions

  • Listen carefully to what the service user has to say

  • Think about how things appear in the reality of the service user with Dementia

  • Help the service user to explain things differently if they have trouble finding the right words

  • Speak clearly (see 4. below), and pay attention to body language (see 3. below)

  • If necessary, use gentle physical contact to reassure the service user

  • Consider any other factors that may be affecting their ability to communicate; e.g. medication, poor eyesight, ill-

  • fitting dentures etc


2. Attracting the service user’s attention:


  • Ensure that the service user can see you clearly

  • Catch and hold the service user’s attention before you start to communicate with them

  • Make positive eye contact to help them focus on you

  • Try and reduce extraneous and distracting noises such as other people’s conversations, TV etc


3. Using body language:


  • A service user will be able to read body language, therefore tense or other negative expressions should be avoided

  • Do not stand over or too close to the service user, who may find this intimidating

  • Be patient to show that you are listening to the service user


4. Ensuring simplicity and clarity of speech:


  • From the outset, as Dementia progresses the service user may be less able to start a conversation, so you may have to take the initiative

  • Use short, simple sentences, and speak clearly and calmly

  • Avoid speaking sharply or raising your voice as this may prove intimidating to the service user

  • Allow enough time for the service user to respond to avoid them feeling pressured in any way

  • Do not ask too many questions at once, as this may confuse and frustrate thee service user


5. Show respect to the service user:


  • Treat the service user as an adult and not as a child.

  • Do not patronise the service user just because he / she may be a little slow to comprehend

  • Tray and include the service user in conversation with others to avoid possible feelings of exclusion and isolation



FORMS REFERENCES:

Form No: 1-400 Induction Training Plan & Record

Form No: 1-405 Staff Training Record - Person-Centred Dementia Care

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