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Initiating and terminating verbal interaction between nurses and severely demented patients regarded as vocally disruptive.

  • Anna-Karin Edberg
  • Å Nordmark Sandgren
  • Ingalill Rahm Hallberg
Publishing year: 1995
Language: English
Pages: 159-167
Publication/Series: Journal of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing
Volume: 2
Issue: 3
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

Abstract english

The care of demented patients requires clear communication during care procedures. Earlier studies have shown that nurses were often vague in their verbal communication and unpublished observations indicated that in some cases demented patients continued to be verbally active after the nurses had left. This study aimed at exploring further the initiating and terminating phases of verbal interaction episodes between nurses and severely demented patients, to explore any relationship between nurses' communication style and vocally disruptive patients. Nine severely demented patients identified as vocally disruptive were tape-recorded between 07.00 h and 13.00 h. Any nurse–patient interaction episode lasting more than 30 s (n= 58) during care procedures was transcribed verbatim and its verbal communication activity was analysed for content and meta communication, and a communication index was calculated. The results showed strong task orientation and decreased verbal interaction during the course of the interaction. The data supported the assumption that the nurses' communication style increases or decreases patients' vocal activity. Vocal activity after the actual interaction episode seemed to coincide with the parties' communication on various levels, with a different focus of content, and with several nurses being involved in the same procedure. Nurses may become impatient and stressed by their patients' severe communication problems and therefore need to be relieved of this stress and supported so that they can remain close to the patient and be able to interpret his/her communication.


  • Nursing


Ingalill Rahm Hallberg
E-mail: ingalill [dot] rahm_hallberg [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Professor emerita

Health-promoting Complex Interventions