Communication and burden in dementia care

Barbara J. Watson


This paper provides an integrated discussion of the literature that addresses the effect of communication strategies on dementia care and caregiver burden. With the complexity and multiple symptoms associated with dementia, caregivers are exposed to increased burden which can affect their own health and wellbeing. Communication has been found to be a key to reducing burden and improving the quality of life for the person with dementia (PWD) and their caregiver. The literature review examines current and previous literature in order to acknowledge and synthesize the existing work done, and to identify areas for future research. The material was drawn from three databases; the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), PubMed and PsycINFO. The literature search was restricted to relevant studies published in English and available through electronic sources between 2000 and 2017. The search yielded 22 studies. Fourteen studies met the inclusion criteria. These studies focused on the use of communication strategies within the context of caregiver burden in dementia care. The qualitative and quantitative studies addressed verbal and nonverbal techniques used to guide caregivers in their communication with PWD and to decrease caregiver burden. The results of the review illustrate the importance of using effective communication techniques for PWD. It shows that using specific strategies improves relationships between caregivers and PWD and effective communication techniques reduce caregiver burden. The importance and significance of these findings indicate the need for further research in the effects that communication have on dementia and caregiver burden.

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International Journal of Healthcare  ISSN 2377-7338(Print)  ISSN 2377-7346(Online)

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