Dementia Communication Workshop for Nursing Students

Award Date: 2018

Project Lead(s): Benjamin Hartung, Manger, Long-Term Care

Project Title: Dementia Communication Workshop for Nursing Students

What is the issue?

As the number of people over the age of 60 continues to rise, there will be fewer nurses with specialized training in gerontology and dementia care to look after them. Many new nurses find that what they learned in nursing school does not adequately prepare them for the realities of working and communicating with people with dementia.

What did we do?

The professional practice chief of nursing and an advanced practice nurse at Baycrest developed a workshop on dementia communication for student nurses working in clinical placement. The workshop provided them with information on dementia and responsive behaviours. It also covered how to handle difficult questions by patients with dementia, such as when they can go home or the whereabouts of their loved ones, and the ethics of entering their reality as a strategy and using untruths as a last resort. We used a combination of self-reflection activities, small group activities, case-studies and simulation videos to deliver the workshop content.

What did we find?

The workshop helped nursing students understand the realities of caring for people with dementia, gain more confidence, and feel more competent providing geriatric nursing care.