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Please also refer to the Communication section of this website for general information about communication.

Communication encompasses both verbal and non-verbal forms (which includes written, gestures, body language, demonstration and sign language).


  • How to address patient/client – what is considered respectful by your patient/client.If unsure it is best to approach with the patients/clients full title until instructed otherwise by the patient/client.e.g. Mr Jones
  • Use of non-verbal communication including body language and facial expressions
  • Communication Interferences – does the patient/client require a hearing aid? Do they have difficulty hearing? 

N.B. The Victorian Deaf Society has produced an information sheet to aid communication with a hearing impaired person. The society regularly updates their information sheets as new evidence emerges. This sheet contains good, basic guidelines:

  • Confidentiality and how to gain consent for a patient/client with dementia
  • Working with a patient/client when there is a barrier to communication e.g. Medical Condition (e.g. dementia, stroke), cultural background (is English their first language?), personality, generation

Information about Communicating with a Patient/Client with Dementia (MESSAGE) is contained within the resources section of the Aged Care Target Area.



If you were to meet the following person in a social situation for the first time, how would you address them?

An 88 year old lady whose name is Jan Smith. (Consider verbal and non-verbal communication including body position and gestures.)

If this lady was your grandmother, how would you like other people to answer this question?

Would this be different in a work situation?

Would this change if this lady was hard of hearing?

Would this change if you realised this lady had dementia?


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