The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has published an interesting study that highlights the impact communication, and the way staff ask questions, can have on their ability to provide care.
According to the NIHR, more than a quarter of hospital patients have dementia and many of them refuse food, drink, medication or requests to be examined, which presents a dilemma for healthcare professionals, as they need to strike a balance between respecting a patient’s wishes and delivering effective care.
The study analysed more than 600 requests made by professionals to carry out tasks such as eating, drinking, personal care, giving medication, and rehabilitation. Having a range of ways of making requests led to more positive responses from patients who were confused or resisting care.
Professionals' phrasing, tone and question construction also influenced the chance of a positive response. For example, phrases like “I was wondering…” displayed doubt and increased refusals. By contrast, “I am just going to…Is that alright?” implied that a task was about to happen and increased agreement.