Exploratory investigation of communication management in residential aged care: a comparison of staff knowledge, documentation, and observed resident-staff communication

Bennett, Michelle K., Ward, Elizabeth C. and Scarinci, Nerina A. (2015) Exploratory investigation of communication management in residential aged care: a comparison of staff knowledge, documentation, and observed resident-staff communication. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 51 3: 296-309. doi:10.1111/1460-6984.12207


Author Bennett, Michelle K.
Ward, Elizabeth C.
Scarinci, Nerina A.
Title Exploratory investigation of communication management in residential aged care: a comparison of staff knowledge, documentation, and observed resident-staff communication
Journal name International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1368-2822
1460-6984
Publication date 2015
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/1460-6984.12207
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 51
Issue 3
Start page 296
End page 309
Total pages 14
Place of publication West Sussex United Kingdom
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: There is a high prevalence of communication difficulty among older people living in residential-aged care. Such functional deficits can have a negative impact on resident quality of life, staff workplace satisfaction and the provision of quality care. Systematic research investigating the nature of communication management in residential-aged care and factors impacting optimal communication management is lacking.

Aims: To use data triangulation across multiple sources to describe resident–staff communication and communication management in residential-aged care.

Methods & Procedure: Participants included a sample of 14 residents and 29 staff directly involved in communication interactions with residents. Data were obtained from: (1) resident file review (n = 14), (2) observation of resident–staff communication (n = 14), (3) resident surveys (n = 14) and (4) staff surveys (n = 29). Data from each source were examined separately then triangulated.

Outcomes & Results: All residents had limited opportunity for meaningful communication with staff. Documentation of residents’ communication needs and strategies to facilitate resident–staff communication was insufficient to provide individualized recommendations. Although staff were observed to use various strategies to facilitate communication with residents, staff agreement about the applicability of these strategies to individual residents was inconsistent. Differences in resident–staff communication for residents who experience nil/mild versus moderate/severe communication difficulty were also found.

Conclusions & Implications: Resident–staff communication and communication management in residential-aged care is limited in scope and challenged in meeting residents’ individual communication needs. Improvements in both documentation and staff knowledge of residents’ communication needs are necessary. Strategies to facilitate communication with individual residents must be tailored, evidence based, documented in care plans and delivered to staff through ongoing education. Increased involvement of specialist providers such as speech pathologists to support better communication management in residential-aged care may provide one way of facilitating such change.
Keyword Language
Long term-care
Quality of life
Speech–language pathology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Publications
 
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Created: Thu, 07 Apr 2016, 16:31:55 EST by Professor Elizabeth Ward on behalf of School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences