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Communication and Dementia: Staff Perceptions of Conversational Strategies
Clinical Gerontologist (2007)
  • Marie Y Savundranayagam, Western University
  • E. B. Ryan, McMaster University
  • A. Anas, McMaster University
  • J. B. Orange, The University of Western Ontario
This study examined the impact of two communication-enhancing strategies used on people with dementia. The strategies were manipulated using scripted staff-resident conversations that were evaluated by 71 long-term care staff participants. We hypothesized that vocal and nonverbal characteristics, along with their communication behaviors would be perceived more positively when staff members used personhood strategies compared to when they used directive language. We examined whether perceptions of the resident depicted identically in the scripts would be more positive in the personhood versus directive conversations. We also considered if simplified language and repetitions would affect the positive impact of personhood on perceptions of staff and residents. In support of our hypotheses, results showed that personhood strategies had positive effects on perceptions of staff and residents. Furthermore, simplified language enhanced those effects by showing staff as less patronizing and residents as more competent. Findings suggest that these strategies can enhance staff-resident interactions.
  • personhood,
  • dementia,
  • Alzheimer's disease,
  • long-term care,
  • communication,
  • language
Publication Date
Citation Information
Marie Y Savundranayagam, E. B. Ryan, A. Anas and J. B. Orange. "Communication and Dementia: Staff Perceptions of Conversational Strategies" Clinical Gerontologist Vol. 31 Iss. 2 (2007)
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