Communicating with People with Dementia


Many practitioners have expressed concern about how best to identify personal outcomes with people with dementia, particularly where decision making and verbal communication is impaired. There has been significant effort in the last few years, involving different agencies and sectors, in supporting work in this area.

Supporting people following a diagnosis of dementia

NHS Education Scotland worked with the Scottish Social Services Council to produce relevant resources for working with people with dementia following diagnosis. The following guide includes a strong focus on personal outcomes.

Supporting people through a diagnosis of dementia

Leadership for dementia

Colleagues in Iriss developed a specific leadership guide for supporting staff working with people with dementia.

Leading for Outcomes: Dementia

Engaging with people with dementia: expanding our understanding of conversation

When working with care home staff who support people with more advanced dementia, the emphasis a personal outcomes approach places on ‘good conversations’ has proved particularly challenging. The following diagram has proved helpful in expanding our understanding of ‘conversation’. It illustrates that efforts to understand the perspective of the person using services typically draw upon a range of  information sources. When identifying personal outcomes with a person with communication or decision making support needs it is simply necessary to adjust the mix of communication channels used.


You can find other relevant resources on our page on Changing the Conversation

Recording outcomes and dementia

You find examples of recorded outcomes for people with dementia and their carers in the following collection of stories:

Recording outcomes dementia

Work with My Home Life on personal outcomes in care homes

My Home Life Scotland produced a briefing sheet which documents the first stages of this work.