Purpose Impairments in word finding, language skills and memory in dementia patients increase the obstacles for health professionals to provide effective care. Although some research on communication with dementia patients has been done, no research that pre-assessed nurses' difficulties in communicating with dementia patients has been identified. This study aims to explore nurses' difficulties in communicating with patients who have dementia. Methods This was a qualitative research using the phenomenological approach. Data were collected through in-depth interviews. Fifteen nurses with at least 6 months of dementia care experience participated in this study. Each interview was audio-taped and transcribed within 48 hours after each interview. Participants were asked to respond to the question, "Please describe the difficulties in communicating with patients who have dementia." Results Through content analysis, two themes, each with two subthemes emerged: Different language, including repetitive responses and lack of language consensus; blocked messages, including difficulty in accessing emotions and in understanding needs. Ineffective language refers to a lack of agreement dialect between the nurse and the patient while blocked messages refer to the inability of nurses to understand the true underlying meaning of messages the patients send out through verbal or nonverbal behaviors or expression. Conclusion The results can serve as reference for planning dementia communication education for school curriculum to enhance student nurses' communication abilities and for junior nurses working in long-term or acute care settings to increase nurses' patient-centered communication abilities with the ultimate goal of improving quality of care for patients with dementia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes