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When is a lie small enough that it doesn’t matter? Is there a point when small lies are okay but big ones are not? No lie is so small that it doesn’t matter, since your integrity is an important characteristic. Listen up –everything you do counts for something. Patient Types In health care, we work with patients who vary in their abilities to communicate. For a review of the age-specific competencies with children and adolescents, read Chapter 11 of the Patient Care textbook –Pediatric Patients section. What about a patient who has vision impairmentwhich can be permanent or temporary? They only have the input of verbal communication. Diminished vision may be general (congenital, cataract), affect only the central area (macular degeneration) or be localized to the peripheral field (glaucoma). Tips to facilitate communication are: For those with partial vision, a good level of ambient or overhead lighting is necessary Think of communicating as you would on the phone (verbal only) Tell them who you are: name and position (student or technologist) Don’t speak in an exaggeratedly loud voice just because one sense is decreased
Avoid pointing to objects or people, but verbalize “It’s on your right”When leaving a room, let them know that fact and let them know when you enter Ask if they need help; if the answer is “no”,then respect their wishes The patient may use a white cane or a guide dog in order to walk independently. They may ask to take your am. Let them decide and do not grab their arm; let them take yours. They will typically keep a half-step behind so you can let them know of turns or steps. Don’t think of the patient as just a blind person –they are a person who happens to be blind. The patient with hearing impairmentfocuses on the nonverbal message and words minus voice tone and inflections. Face the person when talking; don’t turn away and keep talkingSpeak clearly, slowly and naturally Don’t shout, but try to lower your voice tonesince the ability to hear higher tones is typically lost. Note if the patient hears better from one ear than another; then talk toward that ear. Try to minimize the background noise which will be a distraction Pay attention to their nonverbal cues which will let you know if they heard the message Writing out messages such as “hold your breath” or “breathe now” may be helpfulThere is a great variance in the abilities of a patient listed as geriatricwhich means relating to the aged or to characteristics of the aging process. Some are old at age 65 while others remain young at 85. If they have multiple physical conditions or a psychological disorder (dementia or Alzheimer’s), communication may be altered.