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Guidance on communicating with dementia patients

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Guidance to help friends, relatives and carers overcome the stigma of communicating with people with dementia has been published by Bupa.

The Talking Toolkit contains guidance and practical tips on communicating with people with dementia such as avoiding asking open questions.

Instead, questions with a direct “yes” or “no” answer are favourable, it says, as open questions can be confusing.

For example, instead of asking: “what would you like for lunch”, the guidance suggests patients should be asked: “would you like a cheese sandwich”.

Where possible, statements should be kept brief, as patients “may lose the thread of the conversation”, the document adds.

In addition, it advises clinicians and carers to try and avoid contradicting the person with dementia as this could increase their anxiety.

“Remember that at that moment, what they are saying is what they know to be true,” the guidance notes.

It adds that if the person with dementia is no longer able to communicate by talking, “your physical presence may be enough to reassure them or put them at ease”.

Graham Stokes, director of dementia care at Bupa, said:  “Finding ways to maintain meaningful communication is the single most important way people can support those with dementia.

“Our toolkit identifies some specific ways to help and encourage people to do this.”

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Readers' comments (5)

  • “Remember that at that moment, what they are saying is what they know to be true,” the guidance notes.

    Very important to understand that.

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  • It is useful for those whoworks in dementia unit.It is true if they see the person whom they like will settle quickly compring with new person.

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  • IT IS FINE.

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  • ALWAYS USE SIMPLE TERM TO COMMUNICATE,One question simple choice,very clear conversation,more relaxed manner,,n a quiet atmosphere because dementia persons will divert very easily and at the same time disturbed very quickly.

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  • Don't forget Grandma. Err...grammar. SIMPLES! :-)

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