Article  |   April 2012
Examining Success of Communication Strategies Used by Formal Caregivers Assisting Individuals With Alzheimer’s Disease During an Activity of Daily Living
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rozanne Wilson
    University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Elizabeth Rochon
    University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Alex Mihailidis
    University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Carol Leonard
    University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Correspondence to Elizabeth Rochon: elizabeth.rochon@utoronto.ca
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Julie Hengst
    Associate Editor: Julie Hengst×
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Professional Issues & Training / Language
Article   |   April 2012
Examining Success of Communication Strategies Used by Formal Caregivers Assisting Individuals With Alzheimer’s Disease During an Activity of Daily Living
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research April 2012, Vol.55, 328-341. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0206)
History: Accepted 25 Jul 2011 , Received 28 Jul 2010 , Revised 01 Feb 2011
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research April 2012, Vol.55, 328-341. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0206)
History: Accepted 25 Jul 2011 , Received 28 Jul 2010 , Revised 01 Feb 2011

Purpose: To examine how formal (i.e., employed) caregivers' use verbal and nonverbal communication strategies while assisting individuals with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease (AD) during the successful completion of an activity of daily living (ADL). Based on the literature, the authors hypothesized that caregivers' use of 1 proposition, closed-ended questions, and repetition would be of most benefit.

Method: Twelve caregiver–AD dyads participated in this observational study. Each dyad was videorecorded on 6 separate occasions while completing handwashing. Handwashing sessions were transcribed and systematically coded for the use of communication strategies during completion of the ADL.

Results: Caregiver–AD dyads successfully completed 90% of all handwashing sessions, and caregivers employed a variety of communication strategies. Consistent with our hypotheses, during successful task completion, caregivers most frequently provided individuals with AD with 1 direction or idea (i.e., proposition) at a time, closed-ended questions, and paraphrased repetition. Caregivers also frequently used encouraging comments and the resident’s name during the task; however, use of these strategies was not correlated to task success rate.

Conclusion: This study adds to the limited body of evidence supporting the use of specific communication strategies by caregivers assisting individuals with moderate to severe AD during successful completion of ADLs.

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