Is Elderspeak Appropriate?: A Survey of Certified Nursing Assistants

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Elderspeak is a form of patronizing speech that is sometimes used with older adults and can result in unintended negative consequences. Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) working in long-term care facilities may be particularly prone to using elderspeak because they frequently interact with vulnerable and frail older adults who require assistance with activities of daily living. The purpose of the current study was to assess contextual variables that may prompt the use of elderspeak by CNAs. One hundred thirty-four CNAs completed a 36-item questionnaire intended to determine their evaluations of the appropriateness of elderspeak in a variety of contexts. Results indicated that specific resident-related variables (e.g., age, cognitive impairment) and situational variables (e.g., the absence of others during a CNA-resident interaction) were associated with higher ratings of appropriateness of elderspeak. These findings may have implications for improving communication training for CNAs.

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Gerontological Nursing