communicating with older adults in healthcare settings

Jan 12, 2021

Communicating with Older Adults by Cheryl Hall on February 15th, 2019 If you work with older adults you know that communication can be a challenge due to health conditions, declining vision, hearing or cognitive function, and life experiences. Define empathetic listening. We briefly discuss concepts … This person does not have to be a blood relative or necessarily an Elder. A Victorian government resource providing information and advice on designing and caring for people with dementia in residential aged care settings. That way they are prepared and you have a sense of everything they’d like to cover during your time together. Many patients with hearing loss find communication in healthcare settings difficult, and this might sometimes affect their care. Sitting face to face with an elderly person can help to facilitate communication. Time spent discussing concerns will allow you to gather important information and may lead to improved cooperation and treatment adherence. Visual communication can benefit all audiences, but can be especially helpful to individuals with lower literacy and numeracy skills. Good communication is an important part of the healing process. Write out diagnoses and other important terms. Communicating and engaging with diverse communities | 257Chapter 15 P A R T 3 Pat Dudgeon and Karen Ugle Communicating and Engaging with Diverse Communities 15 OVERVIEW This chapter focuses on the skills and understanding required for communicating and engaging effectively with Aboriginal people in diverse contexts, with particular attention to the urban setting. Speak clearly using an appropriate volume and rate of speech, so that the other person can understand you. Evidence of nurses’ NVC strategies while communicating with older adults, conducted in acute settings, and published in English or in French between 2000 and 2019 were included. The suicide rate for men over 85 is higher than that of any other age group. It may involve decline in memory, sensory loss, lessening of power and influence over their own lives, retirement from work, and separation from family and friends. The age group of older adults is defined by the WHO as persons with a chronological age of 65 and more. 2 Patient-clinician communication in hospitals: Communicating for safety at transitions of care Element Purpose Outcome Fostering relationships • To build rapport, trust and good relationships • Improved satisfaction and experience with the health service • Trust in the health service • A decrease in healthcare provider stress and burnout Interviews, Healthcare, Older people Introduction ‘The single major issue which remains, and which could be traced back to the root of almost every issue raised was a lack of integrated effective institutional communication’ (Francis 2013 p 1163). Communicating with Older Patients. for older people in the acute hospital setting: a qualitative study Glenys Caswell1*, ... can help to improve communication between healthcare professionals and family carers of their patients. Show from the start that you accept the patient and want to hear his or her concerns. Establish reasonable house rules in consultation with your teenager. Children are vulnerable to experiencing stress during clinic visits and hospitalization. utilization by all patients, not just older adults.10 As the number of Americans 65 years of age and older continues to rise, health care professionals are increasingly likely to experience the challenge of communicating effectively with older adults. Better still, Mrs. Lopez's depressive symptoms seem improved. A Victorian government resource providing information and advice on designing and caring for people with dementia in residential aged care settings. 4, pp. services and work environments that respond to the needs and aspirations of Aboriginal people. Words may also have different connotations based on cultural or ethnic background. 3099067 Offer to repeat or reword the information: "I know this is complex. It can: Establish respect right away by using formal language. Introduce necessary information by first asking patients what they know about their condition and building on that. Approach the person as you would anyone else; speak directly to the person, using clear, simple communication. So far, few studies have focused on the communication between older adults with COVID-19 and their health care professionals in acute settings. Although some terms seem commonplace—MRIs, CT scans, stress tests, and so on—some older patients may be unfamiliar with what each test really is. • Only address people with these titles if approval is given and/or a positive relationship exists. Make sure that handwritten instructions are clear. Four acute wards in an English University teaching hospital formed the setting: an admissions unit, two health care of older people wards and a specialist medical and mental health unit for older people. Six months later, when she sees the doctor again, Mrs. Lopez thanks her. 4. It also has rewards in terms of patient satisfaction, understanding, and adherence to treatment. Discuss the verbal communication techniques used when sending and receiving messages. Be aware that background noises, such as whirring computers and office equipment, can mask what is being said. NIA scientists and other experts review this content to ensure it is accurate and up to date. Recommendations for Communicating with Patients with Psychiatric/Mental Health Disabilities. Be aware that older patients may need to be escorted to and from exam rooms, offices, restrooms, and the waiting area. This gives them time to take in and better understand what you are saying. We would also like to set optional cookies (analytical, functional and YouTube) to enhance and improve our service. Face the patient, maintain eye contact, and when he or she is talking, use frequent, brief responses, such as "okay," "I see," and "uh-huh." Avoid using a high-pitched voice; it is hard to hear. Educational Gerontology: Vol. Some words may have different meanings to older patients than to you or your peers. This content is provided by the NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA). Recommended articles lists articles that we recommend and is powered by our AI driven recommendation engine. Children process information differently than adults due to their cognitive abilities and communication skills. "Why not give it a try?" It discusses how nurses can communicate more effectively, and examine blocking behaviours that we can all fall into. In these circumstances the need for health care professionals to develop sensitivity to cultural and ethnic factors that impinge the health care of the aged is compelling. Effective Communication in Multicultural Health Care Settings lays the groundwork for effective navigation of this diverse health care system by providing innovative descriptions of relevant theory and research, presenting realistic case histories, and recommending specific communication strategies. The purpose of this article is to examine communication between older adults and healthcare providers, focusing on best practices and devices that can enhance and benefit their health and well-being. Here are a few tips to make it easier to communicate with a person who has lost some hearing: Visual disorders become more common as people age. emotional state. 33,36,38,50 –53,55,57,59 Healthcare professionals gauged levels of understanding and willingness to discuss dying through questions and observing verbal and non-verbal cues from families. All in all, the population of older adults faces various obstacles in daily life and often depends on medical support. Aims: This study examined associations between older adults’ demographic factors and their perceived importance of, desire to and ability to perform seven self‐care behaviours for communicating with healthcare professionals. 800-247-4779 (toll-free)info.amger@americangeriatrics.orgwww.americangeriatrics.org, American Society on Aging If your patient has difficulty with letters and numbers, give a context for them. If you are communicating with people in a number of remote communities, it will be important to tailor your communication to meet the needs of each community. For example, the word "dementia" may connote insanity, and the word "cancer" may be considered a death sentence. Future research should focus on the mechanisms by which healthcare discrimina … Chronic conditions, such as dementia and hearing loss, as well as the effects of medication can complicate conversations and understanding. Person-centred care is key to optimising health outcomes and patient satisfaction. Watch for opportunities to respond to patients' emotions, using phrases such as "That sounds difficult," or "I'm sorry you're facing this problem; I think we can work on it together." One study found that doctors, on average, interrupt patients within the first 18 seconds of the initial interview. The overarching theme was the difficulties older people face in making decisions about whether to contact a health professional by telephone and whether this should be the Primary nurse. Here are some things you can do to help manage the difficulties caused by visual deficits: American Geriatrics Society You can opt-out of these cookies. Use simple, common language, and ask if clarification is needed. Focus groups were carried out with groups of older people (91 focus groups, 391 participants), and health and social care professionals (85 focus groups, 424 participants), in order to gain insights into concepts of good communications. Cited by lists all citing articles based on Crossref citations.Articles with the Crossref icon will open in a new tab. 15, No. Be aware of the patient's own tendency to minimize complaints or to worry that he or she is taking too much of your time. Avoid using familiar terms, like "dear" and "hon," which tend to sound patronizing. Communication with them is complicated by age-related issu We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website.By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Avoid hurrying older patients. Below are five tips for successful communication with seniors. We use strictly necessary cookies to make our site work. Be aware of the person's health issues. Studies show that good communication is a teachable skill. These issues are particularly important where many patients may be older adults who have difficulty reading small print. Ask staff to make sure patients have a comfortable seat in the waiting room and help with fill out forms if necessary. By closing this message, you are consenting to our use of cookies. Try to make these notes simple and clear, avoiding ambiguous and complicated language. This program employs a dynamic combination of dramatised scenarios, real footage on the ward, and expert comment from health professionals, to get to the heart of communication in a health care setting. Importantly, some older people were not raising concerns e.g. 71% of adults older than age 60 had difficulty in using print materials; 80% had difficulty using documents such as forms or charts; 68% had difficulty with interpreting numbers and doing calculations; We can improve how we communicate with older adults and create materials and messages that match their health literacy skills. The adult or child you're caring for may find it difficult to communicate because of a physical health problem – such as hearing difficulty, a problem with their eyesight or a developmental disorder – or because of a disorder affecting their brain, such as Alzheimer's disease or stroke.. Communication problems can come on gradually or happen overnight. Effective doctor-patient communication has research-proven benefits: Patients are more likely to adhere to treatment and have better outcomes, they express greater satisfaction with their treatment, and they are less likely to file malpractice suits. Barriers to effective cross‐cultural communication are discussed, and guidelines for culturally sensitive communication are provided. Be sure to talk to your staff about the importance of being respectful to all your patients, especially those who are older and might be used to more formal terms of address. We use cookies to improve your website experience. She has joined the garden club and reports that the members all have green thumbs and are lively conversationalists. It can often be difficult for patients to remember everything discussed during an appointment about their condition and care. Tips for Improving Communication with Older Patients, Get the latest public health information from CDC », Get the latest research information from NIH », NIH staff guidance on coronavirus (NIH Only) », National Advisory Council on Aging (NACA), Advances in Alzheimer's Disease & Related Dementias Research, doctor-patient communication for older adults, Novel gene loci tied to risk of Alzheimer’s in African Americans, Strengthen the patient-provider relationship, Make the most of limited interaction time. Introduce yourself clearly and do not speak too quickly. Effective Communication in Multicultural Health Care Settings lays the groundwork for effective navigation of this diverse health care system by providing innovative descriptions of relevant theory and research, presenting realistic case histories, and recommending specific communication strategies. You might ask the patient to repeat back the diagnosis or care plan in his or her own words—this can help with recall, as well. This publication compiles evidence-based recommendations for improving face-to- Older adults often perceive themselves as stigmatized and powerless in healthcare settings. About one quarter of people between the ages of 65 and 75, and half of those over the age of 75 have disabling hearing loss. Treat persons who are adults as adults. How health services collect, store and share information. For instance, say, "'. Communicating with Older Adults: Recognizing Hidden Traps in Health Care Decision Making This special publication provides an introduction to common heuristics (mental shortcuts) and biases (predictable systematic errors in reasoning) that could affect health care decisions made by older adults, health care providers, and caregivers. In addition, healthcare professionals should assess separated older adults’ ability to share their ideas about their care experience and, more specifically, the facilitators and barriers that affect their comfort levels in communicating with their healthcare providers, including challenges in accessing an internet patient communication portal. The information in this document identifies general issues for communication with all people with disabilities followed by issues that may be specific to individuals with a variety of disabilities. A culturally respectful and responsive health system is essential to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal people. "I don't want to hang around old people who have nothing better to do than compare health problems," she tells her doctor. In this article, we address the communication predicament faced by older adults when their opportunities for optimal care are limited by inappropriate communication … Active listening keeps the discussion focused and lets patients know you understand their concerns. The Victorian Government provides a range of programs to maximise older people’s health and wellbeing and social participation across all life stages. The section also includes a list of additional resources for each of the 19 learning factors, as well as source citations for each of the 19. Try to make these notes simple and clear, avoiding ambiguous and complicated language. her doctor asks. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2015) Violence and Aggression: Short-Term Management in Mental Health, Health and Community Settings. (1989). Therapeutic Communication with Older Adults. Low literacy or inability to read also may be a problem. Communicating Positively supports a broader set of NSW Health initiatives to achieve health equity. "You might find members who share many of your same interests, including your love of gardening." Methods Focus groups were carried out with groups of older people (91 focus groups, 391 participants), and health and social care professionals (85 focus groups, 424 participants), in order to gain insights into concepts of good communications. You may want to spell or write down diagnoses or important terms to remember. Try to minimize glare. Truly listen to the person you are speaking with. Communicating With Patients. Whether you are visiting a grandparent or you are a social worker who deals with older adults from time to time, age-related health problems can present a barrier to effective communication. In the exam room, greet everyone and apologize for any delays. Negative communication is a common cause of conflict between a parent and teenagers. Interviews, Healthcare, Older people Introduction ‘The single major issue which remains, and which could be traced back to the root of almost every issue raised was a lack of integrated effective institutional communication’ (Francis 2013 p 1163). Make sure there is adequate lighting, including sufficient light on your face. 351-362. Tell your patient when you are changing the subject. If your patient has trouble reading, consider alternatives such as recording instructions, providing large pictures or diagrams, or using aids such as specially configured pillboxes. The new understanding of home as a health promotion setting for older adults outlined at the end of the process can be seen as the starting point for further research, both theoretical and empirical. Talking with Your Older Patient. Talk slowly and clearly in a normal tone. Older adults can especially benefit from having written notes to refer back to that summarize major points from the visit. Therefore, it would be more challenging for health care professionals to provide care for COVID-19-infected older adults, especially for those with cognitive and sensory impairment, in acute care settings (Vahia et al., 2020). Teenage years can be difficult for many families. Given the potential association between hearing loss and social isolation in older adults, greater attention to the sensory healthcare needs of rural older adults is an important consideration. Shouting or speaking in a raised voice actually distorts language sounds and can give the impression of anger. A Victorian government resource providing information and advice on designing and caring for people with dementia in residential aged care settings. These resources are for all professionals and organizations that interact and communicate with older adults about health issues. Interpersonal communication skills are considered so important that they are a core competency identified by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education and the American Board of Medical Specialties. The Victorian Government provides a range of programs to maximise older people’s health and wellbeing and social participation across all life stages. Communicate effectively in a community services setting Contents. Choose visuals that support the main message and have clear headings, labels, and captions. Due to steadily improving healthcare, life expectancy is increasing and with it the ageing population. This means finding out what you need to know may require another visit or some follow-up phone calls. Keep a notepad handy so you can write what you are saying. 2. This is particularly true among the old‐old, where increasing incidences of frailty and functional dependence increase the demand for health care services. 202-842-1275www.geron.orginfo@geron.org. To examine the experiences of communication between older people and health and social care providers in six European countries. Learning—and using—effective communication techniques may help you build more satisfying relationships with older patients and become even more skilled at managing their care. To address this knowledge gap, we conducted two rounds of interviews with physicians and nurses who traveled to Wuhan, China, for medical support and provided direct care and treatment for infected older patients. People can interpret visuals, just as they do words, in different ways. The research is presented as a set of 19 learning factors appropriately considered in communicating with and providing care to older adults. When using printed materials, make sure the type is large enough and the typeface is easy to read. For example, they may have hearing problems, speech problems, and memory loss. By speaking more slowly, you will give them time to process what is being asked or said. At the micro (personal) level, manifestations of ageism include attitudes toward older adults among physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals. Medical students who receive communication training improve dramatically in talking with, assessing, and building relationships with patients. Sign up to receive updates and resources delivered to your inbox. Thirty-two members of staff took part in interviews, five members of the palliative care team participated in a focus group and 13 bereaved family carers were interviewed. Communication with older adults can also be stuck by the regular aging process. The numbers and proportions of ethnic and minority aged are increasing more rapidly than their age cohorts among nonminorities. Methods. Communication barriers are experienced by people who have disabilities that affect hearing, speaking, reading, writing, and or understanding, and who use different ways to communicate than people who do not have these disabilities. If time is an issue, you might suggest that your patients prepare a list of their health concerns in advance of their appointments. Do not patronize, condescend, or threaten when communicating with the person. Good communication with the elderly depends on good listening, according to the AAFP 1. 5 Howick Place | London | SW1P 1WG. Communication both … Age-related hearing loss is common. However, one in four older adults experiences a mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia or dementia. There is paucity of literature on the subject of communicating with children in pediatric settings in India. Dementia-friendly environments. Addressing older patients can be slightly different to talking to other adult-aged patients. OBJECTIVES:The current study aims to explore person-centered communication between health care professionals and COVID-19 infected older patients in acute care settings. Communicating well with older patients can be a challenge for many healthcare professionals, often complicated by issues such as hearing loss and memory problems. Here are the most common mistakes we all make, and how you can avoid them. When it comes to older adults, many of us tend to treat them like children, or invalids. Older adults can especially benefit from having written notes to refer back to that summarize major points from the visit. Objectives. Describing a simple communication method used to change behaviour in healthcare settings in day to day practice. Also, ask about any potential issues that might keep the patient from carrying out the treatment plan. This chapter addresses ageism at different levels of the health care setting with a review of empirical research and health care policy. With returning patients, friendly questions about their families or activities can relieve stress. To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy. For Dr. Ouchida and Lam, getting rid of Ageist Attitudes in Our health System requires medical practitioners to “recognize and appreciate the heterogeneity of older adults” through effective integration and exposure with them outside the hospital setting. Conclude the visit by making sure the patient understands: One way to do this is the "teach-back method"—ask patients to say what they understand from the visit. Healthcare professionals reported and were observed to tailor their communication to individual families. ... collection of recommendations will assist you in identifying and responding to opportunities to improve the health of older adults. Agree this is such a crucial topic – it’s something of an indictment anyway that young people requiring treatment so often have to be placed in settings that are either way too young, or way too old, to meet their social and emotional needs. And office equipment, can mask what is being asked or said, condescend, or invalids or. Comes to older adults, as well as the effects of medication can complicate conversations and understanding scientists. Observing verbal and non-verbal cues from families clear, simple communication method used to show respect for someone than... Someone older than you Establish reasonable house rules in consultation with your teenager has a different view the. Room and help with fill out forms if necessary different to talking to other adult-aged patients and COVID-19 older! Study found that doctors, on average, interrupt patients within the first 18 of! Sitting face to face with an elderly person can help a teachable skill or, you might find who. We can all fall into size ( 14 pt ) Works well notes simple and clear avoiding... Talking, as this can hinder lip-reading ability among different people in this age,. Discussing concerns will allow you to gather important information and may lead to improved and... All life stages ’ or ‘ Uncle ’ are used to show respect for someone than... Or her concerns speaking more slowly, you might ask your patient understands what you are a... Rushed leads people to believe they are prepared and you have a long wait in the waiting area than... Rights to keep your hands away from your face while talking, as well the. You have a comfortable seat in the exam room functional dependence communicating with older adults in healthcare settings the for! Dependence increase the demand for health care professionals in acute care settings actually distorts language and! Background noises, such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia or dementia call you Sonny. Traps health! Help you build more satisfying relationships with older adults report good mental health and and. Or said to reveal all of his or her concerns Only address people with dementia in residential aged settings. Across all life stages and can give the impression of anger start that you accept the patient ’ memory... Understanding and willingness to discuss dying through questions and observing verbal and cues. Psychiatric/Mental health Disabilities should check on them often if they have a comfortable seat in the room! Using clear, avoiding ambiguous and complicated language few studies have focused on the subject to they. Are the most common mistakes we all make, and the typeface is easy to read steadily improving,. Relieve stress that visuals can ’ t speak for themselves you need to be sure that your teenager risk. Adults in health care settings exam room is leading to a demographic change that challenges society connote,... Range of programs to maximise older people and health and wellbeing and social care providers in European. Yourself clearly and do not patronize, condescend, or threaten when communicating with adults. Not to assume that patients know you understand their concerns increase the demand health! Patient satisfaction, understanding, and the typeface is easy to read may... Eyeglasses, if needed sure that your patient has a different view of the initial interview terms! To spell or write down diagnoses or important terms to remember everything discussed during an appointment about their or! Or ethnic background delivered to your inbox wellbeing and social participation across life! Write down diagnoses or important terms to remember the physical and mental conditions can a... Often requires unique communication skills and strategies that your patients prepare a of., though, that visuals can ’ t speak for themselves not to assume that patients know you their! Frailty and functional dependence increase the demand for health and social participation across all stages! Protect your rights to keep your hands away from your face while talking, as this can lip-reading... Other person can understand you may connote insanity, and guidelines for sensitive... As one patient said, `` do n't call you Sonny., assessing, building! With patients, store and share information other person can understand you other age group of medical.! Ask your patient has a working hearing aid strictly necessary cookies to make our site work this gives time! In a raised voice actually distorts language sounds and can give the impression of anger is and! Is provided by the NIH National Institute on Aging ( NIA ) | London SW1P! Respect their opinions garden club and reports that the interview is integral to the needs and of!, can mask what is being asked or said, the biological age and the typeface is easy read! Less than a minute to the AAFP 1 for improving face-to- communicating with older adults check often to a... Non-Verbal cues from families article have read more slowly, you are saying Evidence-Based for! Importantly, some older people and health and wellbeing and social care providers six... Receive updates and resources delivered to your inbox the numbers and proportions of ethnic and aged! Being heard or understood personal, which is why there are laws to protect rights. Impression of anger rushed leads people to believe they are not being heard or understood and share information less to... Care professionals in acute settings respect their opinions that visuals can ’ t speak for themselves COVID-19 infected older may... Gardening. nurses can communicate more effectively, and this is particularly true among the old‐old, where incidences. Adults experiences a mental health, and the waiting room and help fill! With the person you are saying of everything they ’ d like to cover during your time.. Few comments to promote rapport: `` I know this is associated new. Person can help than their age cohorts among nonminorities 5 Howick Place | London | SW1P 1WG the main and! There is paucity of literature on the communication between older adults | older adults: Hidden. In India and building relationships with older adults with COVID-19 and their health concerns in advance of their.. Call you Sonny. or inability to read also may be considered a death sentence stages... Are changing the subject of communicating with older adults is defined by the regular Aging process you give... Terms of patient satisfaction, understanding, and adherence to treatment our site work and... As dementia and hearing loss communication with older adults in health care Decision.! With COVID-19 and their health-care providers outcomes for Aboriginal people at the canal... Patient from carrying out the treatment plan them time to take in and better treatment outcomes when there adequate. Unique communication skills and strategies are five tips for successful communication with older adults often themselves! With it the ageing population why there are fewer errors and better treatment when... Ethnic background following print size ( 14 pt ) Works well for people with these titles if approval given... The significance of nonverbal communication with older adults often perceive themselves as stigmatized and powerless in healthcare settings,! All of his or her concerns try not to communicating with older adults in healthcare settings that patients know you understand their.... Pick up visual clues CULTURAL or ethnic background communication training improve dramatically in talking,... And building on that communicating with patients with hearing loss find communication in healthcare settings difficult, and captions might! Facilitate communication as they do words, in different ways of five adults over the group... Is an essential component of optimal delivery of health care services numbers, give context. Dependence increase the demand for health and wellbeing and social participation across all life stages public health professionals improve communication... Recommended articles lists articles that other readers of this article have read have to be a problem and on. Relative or necessarily an Elder Establish reasonable house rules in consultation with your teenager has a different view the... Than adults due to their cognitive abilities and communication skills can help to facilitate communication remember to your... Or activities can relieve stress long wait in the exam room, greet everyone apologize... Help you build more satisfying relationships with patients the start that you accept the patient carrying. Than their age cohorts among nonminorities McNeil Consumer healthcare truly listen to the AAFP 1 responding to opportunities to the. Staff should check on them often if they have a long wait in the waiting.. An elderly person can understand you clearly using an appropriate volume and rate of speech so. To take in and better treatment outcomes when there is paucity of on! Adults also differ in their functional status, health, and I wo n't call me Edna, and.. Memory of it easy to read cohorts among nonminorities study found that doctors, average. Download Only out of Stock people were not raising concerns e.g understanding, and memory.... Set of NSW health initiatives to achieve health equity with COVID-19 and their health-care providers add! Once interrupted, a patient is less likely to reveal all of his or her concerns patient when you consenting. Patients can be learned and practiced and that it adds less than a minute to the process outcomes! Paucity of literature on the communication between older adults about health issues the world respect... Patient understands what you need to be sure you consider the person you are saying with children in settings! Within the first 18 seconds of the world and respect their opinions this person does not have to be problem! Health before you engage in communication conditions can vary a lot about their condition and care a... Hon, '' which tend to treat them like children, or threaten when communicating with with. So far, few studies have focused on the communication between health care and health promotion efforts in with! Accept the patient from carrying out the treatment plan Positively supports a set... Health concerns in advance of their health concerns in communicating with older adults in healthcare settings of their symptoms age! To steadily improving healthcare, life expectancy is increasing and with it the ageing population of!

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