Our Nurses Know The Importance Of Communication When Dealing With Aphasia Patients
As a senior care nurse in Thousand Oaks and elsewhere, you know the importance of good communication with patients. But do you know how to meet the challenge of those who have aphasia and an impaired ability to communicate? One benefit of choosing a career as a nurse with Pegasus is developing your skill in connecting with patients.
Start With The Cause
You may be familiar with aphasia symptoms. However, aphasia generally doesn’t occur by itself—it’s caused by something else. Knowing the underlying condition potentially improves your efforts to communicate.
Aphasia results from damage to the brain. The symptoms and severity of the impairment depend on what part of the brain is injured. Strokes are the primary cause of damage.
A stroke or head injury can quickly result in impaired speech. Aphasia can develop slowly if the damage is due to a brain tumor or infection. Neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease are a source of aphasia that worsens over time.
Some individuals with aphasia may be able to speak. Unfortunately, what they say often sounds incoherent to others. They know what they are trying to say but are unable to put the words together enough to say it.
Some are unable to understand what others say to them. Their ability to read or write may be impaired for some individuals. Other types of speech disorders may exist with aphasia.
Know The Symptoms Of Each Type
Each individual is different, but their impairment may be generalized as follows:
- Global: Individuals present significant challenges to their caregivers. They understand little of what you say and are unable to express themselves. They are unable to read or write.
- Broca’s: individuals can understand what you tell them if you keep the sentences simple. They can read, but their speaking and writing skills are limited.
- Wernicke’s: Individuals retain the ability to express themselves verbally, but their word choice may not make sense to you. Their reading and writing skills are impaired, and they often do not understand what you tell them.
- Anomic: Individuals can speak and read adequately. Their primary difficulty is finding the words they want to say or write, which leaves them frustrated.
- Primary progressive: Communication is impaired over time due to disease rather than injury. In the early stages, the loss may be similar to other forms of aphasia. As the disease progresses, individuals lose all ability to understand spoken or written communication and are often mute.
Some individuals may have symptoms of more than one kind of aphasia. Those with primary progressive aphasia may lose some of their cognitive abilities due to the underlying disease. Others retain their intellectual and cognitive capabilities.
Find The Most Effective Way To Communicate
Although you will develop a customized care plan for an individual with aphasia, consider incorporating the following tips:
- Make eye contact and ensure that you have the person’s attention
- Eliminate distractions such as a TV or radio
- Speak slowly and clearly, but don’t raise your voice
- Use simple sentence construction, but avoid using baby talk
- Ask questions that they can answer with a yes or no
- Observe body language
These are general suggestions for effective communication with almost everyone.
Depending on the type and severity of aphasia, you may find the following helpful:
- Give the person adequate time to respond, and avoid finishing their words or sentences
- Ask questions to clarify what they’re trying to say, and avoid correcting any mistakes
- Use drawings you create or have them draw pictures for you
- Create a “book” of words, graphics, photos, or objects that they can point to that help them express themselves
Rely on your imagination to find ways to connect with individuals in even the most severe cases of aphasia.
Use Your Skills Improve Their Quality Of Life
As a home health care nurse, you have the opportunity of working one-on-one with patients. You also spend uninterrupted time with each. As you get to know them, you’ll discover how to communicate with each effectively.
That enables you to provide care that meets their special needs. You will also be able to improve communication between individuals and family members. You’re part of a Pegasus team, so you can seamlessly arrange for therapists or other necessary caregivers.
Caring for individuals with aphasia is not the only way in which Pegasus encourages creativity. We recognize that home health care presents challenges that can require unique solutions. We are proud to provide an environment in which our professionals and staff feel:
- Encouraged to express ideas
- Valued and appreciated
- Free to suggest innovations
If you’ve recently graduated, home health care provides an ideal environment. You’ll care for individuals with a variety of needs and medical conditions. You’ll learn something new from each of them.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. As a senior care nurse in Thousand Oaks and our other locations, you will help individuals stay independent and comfortable. Additionally, our high standards and reputation for quality care will help you advance your career as a nurse.