Can communicative problems between caregivers and patients with severe dementia be bridged by help from a close family member?

Document type: Conference Presentations
Peer reviewed: Yes
Author(s): Göran Holst, Mikael Rennemark
Title: Can communicative problems between caregivers and patients with severe dementia be bridged by help from a close family member?
Conference name: 20th Nordic Congress of Gerontology
Year: 2010
City: Reykjavik
Organization: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Department: School of Health Science (Sektionen för hälsa)
School of Health Science S-371 79 Karlskrona
+46 455 38 50 00
http://www.bth.se/hal/
Authors e-mail: goran.holst@bth.se
Language: English
Abstract: Several studies have shown connections between personality and various kinds of behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia. It has for example been found that personality traits such as introversion, rigidity, and a tendency to suppress emotions, as remembered retrospectively by a close family member, correlated positively with disturbed communicative behaviors in people with severe dementia. This finding indicates that personality characteristics should be considered in nursing care because they may help a caregiver to understand communicative attempts from a person not able to speak for themselves, i.e. express their feelings. Information from a next of kin about a sick person’s personality may help to bridge communicative gaps in care situations. However, the reliability of such information is not known. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the inter-rater agreement between healthy elderly people`s self-assessment and the assessment made by a next of kin concerning personality and Sense of Coherence (SOC). The participants (n=154) answered questions from the Eysenck personality scale and the Antonovsky SOC scale. The study shows high or moderate agreement in ratings when analysed by means of an intra-class correlation coefficient (range between r =.57 and r = .72) indicating that in general a close relative is able to report on the personality of a next of kin. The inter-rater agreement was high on SOC and Extraversion and somewhat lower on Neuroticism. For Neuroticism, length of time of relationship increased the odds for a good inter-rater agreement. Thus seemingly a next of kin is a reliable informant for the elderly in general and is probably also able to add information useful in the nursing care of people with a severe dementia disease.
Subject: Nursing & Caring Sciences\General
Psychology\General
Medical Sciences
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