Dementia Centred

James McKillop's picture

By James McKillop

September 23rd, 2016

Telephone communication

Many of you have met or heard about James McKillop, James has been living with dementia for 15 years, and was a founding member of the Scottish Dementia Working Group in 2002.

Over a series of blogs James will share some insights around communicating with and supporting people with dementia.

The final blog discusses the use of the phone when communicating with a person living with dementia.

Part 7: Telephone communication

This can be trying for both parties and I think the best advice is to use common sense. People in the early to middle stages may be able to hold a two way conversation, but still struggle at bits. I think you should offer to meet them at a place and time convenient to them and emphasise that they can have someone they trust with them.

If the problem cannot wait, deal with it and send them a letter summarising the position and repeat the offer to visit.  Do not cajole or coax, suggest a face to face.

If you have had a telephone conversation with them recently, you should have an idea how to proceed.  If you have talked to them some time ago, say six months, and it went well, remember there may have been a deterioration in their condition, so proceed cautiously to test the lie of the land.

In his previous posts on communication James has covered:

Part 1:  Preparation for effective communication

Part 2: Place, the impact of environment on communication

Part 3: Setting the scene well can enhance communication

Part 4: The conversation: collecting information

Part 5: Keeping the conversation on the right track

Part 6: Conversations in Hospitals

James McKillop's writing on dementia and communication will be published as a resource booklet by Life Changes Trust later in 2016.

Best Practice in dementia care
The programme is based on person-centred care and the building of meaningful relationships and includes guidance on communication and behavior.

10 Helpful Hints Series
These books are a short series of guides in plain language for the use of health and social care workers, people with dementia and families affected by dementia. They are based on research but with the needs and time constraints of the busy carer or professional in mind.


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