Resident Reactions to Person-Centered Communication by Long-Term Care Staff

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Abstract

Long-term care staff caregivers who are person centered incorporate the life history, preferences, and feelings of residents with dementia during care interactions. Communication is essential for person-centered care. However, little is known about residents’ verbal reactions when staff use person-centered communication. Accordingly, this study investigated the impact of person-centered communication and missed opportunities for such communication by staff on resident reactions. Conversations (N = 46) between staff–resident dyads were audio-recorded during routine care tasks over 12 weeks. Staff utterances were coded for person-centered communication and missed opportunities. Resident utterances were coded for positive reactions, such as cooperation, and negative reactions, such as distress. Linear regression analyses revealed that the more staff used person-centered communication, the more likely that residents reacted positively. Additionally, the more missed opportunities in a conversation, the more likely that the residents reacted negatively. Conversation illustrations elaborate on the quantitative findings and implications for staff training are discussed.

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