Caring for people with dementia can be difficult because they are more likely to refuse aspects of their healthcare. This may be due to factors including not understanding the task and its consequences, or being anxious about whether they are able to do the task. Refusals can be for everyday requests such as taking medications, undergoing an assessment or having a wound dressed. The way in which a healthcare professional makes a request to the patient can also make a difference to how the patient responds.

Here we provide a set of communication techniques that will help you to deliver patient care.

The techniques are based on things that we have seen work in practice. They fall into three main areas. How easy the task seems to be for the patient, how clearly or explicitly it is explained and the level of 'authority' with which the request is made. By 'authority' we mean that the healthcare professional is an 'expert' or 'authority' on their subject. We do not mean that they have the power or right to give orders. We will look at each of these in turn.