Communication with a non-verbal resident

  1. We have a resident that cannot talk. With hand signals and his head he does let us know Yes and No.

    Hoping that he can spell ... I would like to put large letters and numbers on a sheet paper so that he might spell out what he wants.

    What are your thoughts?
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    About PBAJS

    Joined: Apr '04; Posts: 211; Likes: 21
    CNA

    5 Comments

  3. by   bargainhound
    There are products for this and also picture boards.
    Speech therapist should be able to help you find
    these resources.
  4. by   lpnadmin
    Quote from PBAJS
    We have a resident that cannot talk. With hand signals and his head he does let us know Yes and No.

    Hoping that he can spell ... I would like to put large letters and numbers on a sheet paper so that he might spell out what he wants.

    What are your thoughts?
    What is their level of functioning? I've had non-verbal residents before and it is a challenge. Are you in an LTC setting?

    A notebook would be a good start. Alternatively, a picture board is helpful too. In addition, observing your resident's body language can be very helpful in discovering potential problems. For instance, if he/she signals that everything is ok but grimaces as though in pain, then something's likely wrong.
  5. by   subee
    Quote from lpnadmin
    What is their level of functioning? I've had non-verbal residents before and it is a challenge. Are you in an LTC setting?

    A notebook would be a good start. Alternatively, a picture board is helpful too. In addition, observing your resident's body language can be very helpful in discovering potential problems. For instance, if he/she signals that everything is ok but grimaces as though in pain, then something's likely wrong.
    I echo the advice to get speech therapy involved. My mother is in a LTC facility and cannot speak. The speech therapist got her a little typewriter that provides a read out for the person facing her. When she's too tired to use that, she has a picture board with her most common needs on it. However, keep trying on your own and maybe you'll invent something even better. Its a real big problem when your family member can't talk and the problem will only get worst as us boomers get up there - we need some new ideas!
  6. by   marjoriemac
    Intuition! I think all nurses have the potential of having good intuition with regards to patient needs. I have come across lots of patients with communication difficulties due to language, dementia, speech impairment, hearing impairment and cognitive decline. Each resident will have their own way of letting us know what is wrong and if they can't then intuition comes into play. I currently use a note book (writing on block capitals, simple short questions/ answers) for a lady with hearing impairment, I have used humour and smiles to convince a depressed man to even give me yes or no answers and I have used my intuition in many residents unable to give verbal, physical cues.
    PS. I have a wee lady who does not speak much but moans a lot (it is due to her dementia), she was very noisy the other night, I sat beside her, held her hand and asked if she was tired, she replied yes between moans. I gave her a cuddle and a peck on the cheek and as I walked away she said 'thank-you' and smiled. Little things mean a lot in the job don't they!:spin:
  7. by   nursedawn67
    I take a care of a gentleman that cannot speak but can nod his head, we have a board with rows, in each row is the letters of the alphabet, this gentleman looks down if he wants a vowel (which is the first line), and the rest he looks ahead, we read the number of the row he looks at us when we reach the row he wants, then we read off the letters until we reach the one he wants and then he looks at us again. We speel out what he needs wants or is just asking this way. There is also a couple of rows with preformed sayings, such as thank you. Oh yeah and when we have spelled out the word he wants he nods to tell us that word is done.

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