In the past three months we started providing home care to two elderly gentlemen, one in Rochester Hills, the other in Troy. Both had strokes. The client in Rochester Hills is a retired General Motors engineer, very intelligent. The Troy client was the owner of a stamping company. The Rochester Hill client does have some paralysis in his right hand and leg, but he is mobile enough to get by. The Troy client has no paralysis. The most striking effect of their strokes is that they have Aphasia. You may ask what is Aphasia? Its damage to the neuro-connection in the brain that impairs a person to speak, understand other people and may also affect their ability to read or write. This condition can also occur from head trauma, brain tumors or from infections.
As you could imagine, it’s quite a challenge to communicate with our clients. Our caregivers have to concentrate on his facial expression to understand his; likes and dislikes. To better understand this condition we have the employees of SYNERGY Home Care or Rochester are educated ourselves by reading information on the National Aphasia Association (NAA) website http://www.aphasia.org/
Here are some of the techniques that we use to communicate with our client.
Communication Strategies: Some Dos and Don'ts
1) We make sure that we have the client's attention before we start any personal care.
2) We try to eliminate background noise (TV, radio, other people).
3) We speak to the client at a normal level.
4) We keep sentences simple, but adult. Reduce our rate of speech and emphasize key words. We do not "talk down" to our client.
5) We give them time to speak. We resist the urge to finish sentences or offer words.
6) We communicate with gestures in addition to speech.
7) We ask questions that can be answered with "yes" and "no".
8) We praise all attempts to speak and disregard any errors.
9) We engage our client in normal activities; going grocery shopping with him, visit neighbors.
10) We encourage independence.