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Maximizing communication with the Alzheimer's patient by Martin D. Shulman, Ellen Mandel

Maximizing communication with the Alzheimer's patient | Nursing Homes | Find Articles at BNET

"Those who interact with individuals with a diagnosis of dementia of the Alzheimer's type know the difficulties in communicating with these patients. Their communicative deficits have been well documented and may include poor memory, poor judgement, poor word finding skills, poor comprehension of spoken and written material, poor expressive language skills, verbal perseverations of words and ideas, poor topic maintenance, poor turn taking, poor discourse skills, and general disorientation or confusion. While these patients may be able to speak clearly, they have difficulty in communicating their thoughts, needs and ideas."

"While certainly devastating to the individual, these deficits can have an equally negative impact on the communication partner. Anyone who needs to converse with an Alzheimer's patient faces a variety of potential difficulties which may set the stage for communicative breakdown and frustration. The authors have been involved in training programs designed to maximize communicating with the Alzheimer's patient. It is our feeling that family, friends, physicians, nurses, aides, orderlies, volunteers, and staff members of long-term care facilities can learn some strategies to make conversing with Alzheimer's patients more effective, efficient and, hopefully, less frustrating."