Visualising conversations between care home staff and residents with dementia

Baker, Rosemary, Angus, Daniel, Smith-Conway, Erin R., Baker, Katharine S., Gallois, Cindy, Smith, Andrew, Wiles, Janet and Chenery, Helen J. (2015) Visualising conversations between care home staff and residents with dementia. Ageing and Society, 35 2: 270-297. doi:10.1017/S0144686X13000640

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Author Baker, Rosemary
Angus, Daniel
Smith-Conway, Erin R.
Baker, Katharine S.
Gallois, Cindy
Smith, Andrew
Wiles, Janet
Chenery, Helen J.
Title Visualising conversations between care home staff and residents with dementia
Journal name Ageing and Society   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0144-686X
Publication date 2015-02
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1017/S0144686X13000640
Open Access Status
Volume 35
Issue 2
Start page 270
End page 297
Total pages 28
Place of publication Cambridge, United Kingdom
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
People with dementia living in residential care often face the dual disadvantage of increasing difficulty with communication and reduced opportunities for conversation. Social interaction is central to wellbeing of residents with dementia, so it is important that care staff have the skills to engage in conversation with them. We studied conversations in 20 care staff–resident dyads, to examine conversation structure and content, patterns of engagement within conversations, including the topics around which engagement occurred, and communication behaviours by care staff that appeared to facilitate (or impede) participation by residents. The transcripts were analysed using Discursis, a computational information visualisation tool that allows interactive visual inspection, in context, of the contributions by each speaker, the turn-taking dynamics, and the content recurring within and between speakers. We present case examples (a) where care staff did most of the talking, initiated topics and were responsible for most recurrence of content; (b) where talk was more evenly shared between partners, with some topics initiated and/or elaborated by participants with dementia; and (c) where participants with dementia talked most, with care staff supporting the conversation. We identified accommodative strategies used by care staff, such as reflecting back the other person's responses to sustain engagement. We also noted care staff behaviours that impeded communication, such as not listening attentively and not allowing sufficient time for responses. The results from this study highlight aspects of social communication within the aged care context and suggest ways in which rewarding interactions between staff and residents with dementia might be encouraged.
Keyword Dementia
Information visualisation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online: 23 September 2013

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Created: Mon, 09 Dec 2013, 11:40:02 EST by Roheen Gill on behalf of UQ Centre for Clinical Research