Long-Term Care

Trainer’s tip: Communicating with residents who have speaking, hearing, or comprehension problems

LTC Nursing Assistant Trainer, June 2, 2011

Some residents may not be able to hear as well as others. Some residents may be unable to pick up on visual cues. Others require additional assistance to help them better understand. When communicating with these residents, be sure to:

  • Allow plenty of time for responses.
  • Turn off or remove distractions such as a television or radio. Closing the room door may also be necessary.
  • Stay on the resident’s “good” side, where his or her hearing or speech is best. Let him or her see your mouth as you speak.
  • Avoid rushing the resident and finishing his or her sentences unless you can help by patiently supplying a word or two.
  • Use the correct voice volume. You may have to be louder if the resident is hard of hearing; however, remember that individuals with dementia or residents who have had a stroke aren’t necessarily hard of hearing. A normal volume works best in these situations.
  • Use short, simple words and phrases.
  • Ask the resident to point to words on a board or a piece of paper when he or she has difficulty finding the right words. Encourage residents to use gestures such as head nodding and hand motions.
  • State one instruction at a time when giving directions. Break down your directions into simple steps.

This is an excerpt from the HCPro book, The CNA Training Solution, Second Edition.

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