Improving outcomes of nursing home interactions


  • Kristine Nordlie Williams

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Kansas School of Nursing, Kansas City, KA
    • University of Kansas, MS 4043, School of Nursing, 3901 Rainbow Blvd, Kansas City, KS 66160.
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    • Assistant Professor.

  • The John A. Hartford Building Academic Nursing Capacity Scholar Program, administered by the American Academy of Nursing, supported this research. The author wishes to acknowledge the assistance of Dr.Veronica Rempusheski, Noelle Jarouch, and Kari Sperber during study implementation and Dr. Carol Smith in manuscript preparation.


In this study, an intervention designed to improve staff-resident communication was evaluated in three nursing homes. Audio recordings of staff speech from baseline, and immediately and 2 months post-intervention, were compared on elderspeak (infantilizing speech) and rated for care, respect, and control. After the intervention, staff used less elderspeak (i.e., diminutives, collective pronoun substitutions, shortened statements, and simplistic vocabulary). Immediate post-intervention conversations were rated as less controlling, but more respectful and caring. After 2 months, communication was more controlling, less respectful, and less caring. Reduction in staff elderspeak use continued for psycholinguistic measures, but improvements in care, respect, and control decayed, suggesting the need for ongoing reinforcement of training. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 29:121–133, 2006