Dementia Care Communication Tool

Communicating with someone diagnosed with Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease is one of the greatest challenges of the condition and becomes more difficult as the condition progresses.

Daughterly Care has specialised in providing Dementia or Alzheimer’s care for 21 years. We attend leading conferences to learn about the latest evidence based research, on ways to better care for people living with Dementia or Alzheimer’s.

In November 2015, we attended a workshop by Professor Michelle Bourgeois, Ph.D, CCC-SLP, ASHA Fellow, a Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of South Florida at a Montessori Conference. Professor Bourgeois discussed her Graphic Cuing System she invented and researched called Voice My Choice TM.

“Over and over again I am surprised by how people with advanced Dementia can read cards and answer the questions” Professor Michelle Bourgeois, November 2015.

Professor Bourgeois believes that in the process of working out the answer to a question, the question is bumped out of the person’s memory because of the ‘working memory’ or short term memory. This causes them to not remember the question and therefore he/she cannot answer the question.

The Professor’s research has found that people living with Dementia require greater time to answer a question, however when they see a permanent graphic cue in front of them i.e. a card with a picture and the word answering questions or communicating becomes easier.  To continually see the topic, the person living with the condition has enough time to work out and express their answer. Professor Bourgeois’ research found that even people with very advanced Dementia understand what is being asked of them and can answer meaningfully i.e. they can still Voice Their Choice TM.

None of Professor Bourgeois’ evidence based research comes as a surprise to us at Daughterly Care because we have seen for 21 years that our clients with Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease are more switched on than the way people commonly describe them.

Verlie Hall, Registered Nurse, Dementia Care Nurse Daughterly Care.

We have the good fortune to care for our clients in their own homes and our Caregivers can easily use items around the home to communicate with our clients.  Nonetheless we have supplied this Graphic Visual Cuing system to our Caregivers and Nurses so that they have another tool in their toolkit to relate to, and connect with, our clients. It is especially good for talking to clients about pain in their body, and what they do and don’t like to do and eat.

Our Caregivers ask Daughterly Care to make them communication mats and cards unique to each client to aid their communication, at no cost to the client.  It is just part of what makes Daughterly Care Caregivers so focused and talented at providing dementia care, the lengths we will go to, to connect with our clients.

Watch an explanation by Kate Lambert, Daughterly Care’s CEO explain Professor Bourgeois’s graphic cuing communication system.

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