A Case Study of Resistiveness to Care and Elderspeak

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

Research and theory for nursing practice

DOI of Published Version



Resistiveness to care (RTC) by persons with dementia significantly adds to subjective and objective burden for caregivers and may be triggered by environmental factors, including communication. This case study evaluated behavioral responses of a nursing home resident with dementia to nursing staff use of elderspeak communication (infantilizing speech). Four videotaped staff-resident interactions that were previously recorded were coded for staff elderspeak communication and resident RTC. Total elderspeak scores (M = 29.5, SD = 25.74) and RTC scores (M = 8.75, SD = 13.79) were correlated r = 0.93, p = .03. This preliminary single-subject observational study suggests a relationship between staff elderspeak communication and RTC in a nursing home resident with dementia that warrants further investigation. Limitations include the use of a convenient case study sample with inability to control time of day, medications, different care activities, staff characteristics, and other factors. Knowledge about communication in dementia care may inform nursing care practices to overcome behavioral symptoms such as RTC and improve quality of life for individuals with dementia and working conditions for nursing staff.

Published Article/Book Citation

Research and theory for nursing practice, 21:1 (2007) pp.45-56. https://doi.org/10.1891/rtnpij-v21i1a006

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