• elderly care;
  • nurse–patient interaction;
  • observation study

Factors related to nurse communication with elderly people

This study explores variables that might influence nurses’ communication with elderly patients. Three groups of variables arise from the literature that seem to affect the quality or quantity of nurse–patient communication: variables related to nurses, to patients, and to the setting in which nursing care takes place. The study was conducted in two different care settings: a home for elderly people and a home care organization. In a sample of 181 video-taped nursing encounters, involving 47 nurses and 109 patients a study was made of nurse–patient communication. In addition, relevant data related to patients, nurses and situation were gathered by questionnaires and were combined with the results of observations of videotaped nurse–patient interactions. It was found that the educational level of nurses was related most strongly to the way nurses communicate with their elderly patients. Patient characteristics such as age, gender and subjective state of health appeared to play a minor role in the way nurses communicate.