-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Many nurses and other
health workers at Alzheimer's care facilities feel unprepared to
tell patients' family members the truth about their loved one's
condition, a new study finds.
They often have to struggle with the choice of being positive
but dishonest, or candid but disheartening, the researchers
The study included 15 registered nurses, 13 care assistants or
nurse aides, and four licensed practical nurses who worked at
skilled nursing or assisted-living facilities in four states.
Another communication dilemma faced by the workers was what to
say to relatives who did not have power of attorney but asked for
details about a patient's condition despite health information
Many of the workers said family members often sought advice from
them, while the workers believed their professional role was to
offer the family options for care, according to the findings
published online Nov. 13 in the
Journal of Applied Communication Research.
The findings suggest "that nurses and care assistants working
with Alzheimer's patients and their families face unique
communication challenges in managing families' uncertainty that are
not adequately addressed in the training they receive," study
author Anne Stone, an assistant professor in the communication
department at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., said in a
journal news release.
"I think that discussing the experience of family uncertainty, and how to manage it, in training would help nursing staff," she suggested.
The study participants revealed several strategies they used to
help them deal with the challenges of communicating with patients'
The Alzheimer's Association offers resources for
family and friendsof Alzheimer's patients.
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