To help you provide a supportive presence to your loved one, our staff has the following suggestions:
- Maintain calm, controlled, consistent behavior.
- Try not to over-stimulate the patient; this may result in confusion, agitation or fatigue.
- Do not confuse the patient with too many visitors or too many people speaking at one time.
- Treat the patient as an adult.
- Be patient.
- Try not to disrupt the patient’s regular routine.
- Reinforce the progress the patient is making.
- Be prepared for the possibility of bizarre, inaccurate language and swearing. Accept it without display of emotion.
- Do not force the patient to speak or “perform” for others.
- Do not talk for the patient unless absolutely necessary.
- Do not join the patient’s fantasies or repetitions.
- When the patient is exhibiting inappropriate behavior, redirect his or her attention to another topic, stimulus or person.
- Expect the unexpected…variability is the rule.
- Speak slowly. Give the patient time to understand what you have said and time to respond.
- Use short, simple sentences and questions.
- Present only one idea at a time.
- Keep topic of discussion familiar, relevant and personal.
- Ask simple yes/no questions. Phrase questions in the positive rather than the negative (“do you” rather than “don’t you”).
- Do not ask open-ended challenging questions (For example, “what would you like to wear?”). Provide simple, concrete choices that allow the patient to verbally select or point to his or her preferred choice. (For example, hold up two shirts and ask “which one doe you want to wear?”).
- Provide information rather than testing to see what the patient knows (For example, “What is my name?”).
- Encourage the patient to use gestures or writing to improve expression.
- Do not speak over or down to the patient. Speak to him or her as a reasoning adult.
- Do not act as if you understand the patient if you do not.
- In response to the patient’s “making up stories” or confabulating, provide relevant facts and redirect. Do not argue.
- Do not use sarcasm, abstract jokes or figures of speech. The patient may take everything you say very literally.Make certain that background noises, such as the television, radio and competing conversations are eliminated while you are speaking with the patient. Do not shout when speaking with the patient. Speak at a normal loudness level. Do not treat the patient as if he or she is deaf.