Using drawings as a reflective tool to enhance communication in dementia care

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Using drawings as a reflective tool to enhance communication in dementia care

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Communication skills training can be a valuable means of supporting professional and family carers of people with dementia. Most communication skills training programmes for those caring for people with dementia focus on dementia awareness and the technical aspects of communication, such as the pace and volume of the carer’s speech. However, it is also important to examine what is conveyed about a carer’s internal experience in their non-verbal interactions with people living with dementia. This article explores how drawings can be used to help carers to reflect on what is communicated and question any hidden assumptions. It discusses three case studies to demonstrate the complex dynamics that may be involved in interactions with people with dementia: the loss of shared memories, facing towards someone with dementia rather than away from them, and talking about issues that may be upsetting. Drawings provide a means for carers to access their unspoken thoughts and emotions, and can help them to improve their understanding of non-verbal interactions with people who have dementia.

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