Considerations for development of student communication skills in an aged care context

In aged care placement settings, students may encounter clients who have specific or different communication needs.  These might include:

  • Losing ability to communicate (for example degenerative conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and/or neurological conditions such as motor neurone disease)
  • Changing ability to communicate (for example stroke rehabilitation)
  • Communication interference (for example sensory aids)
  • Aged related decline in vision and hearing
  • Aging with an existing communication deficit
  • Culturally and generational respectful communication
  • Communication strategies in palliative care
  • Communication strategies in discharge planning

 It is important to consider:

  • How to address patient/client and what is considered respectful
  • How the use of non-verbal communication including body language and facial expressions can be used to optimise the assessment
  • Whether the client’s supports (eg. Hearing aids and glasses) are suitable
  • How the changed ability to communicate might impact on client confidentiality gaining consent


Resources to support communication in Aged Care:



For people who are deaf or hard of hearing

For palliative care

For additional content regarding the development of student communication skills for placements, visit the Communication section of this website


  • Yorkston, K. M., Bourgeois, M. S., & Baylor, C. R. (2010). Communication and aging. Physical medicine and rehabilitation clinics of North America21(2), 309–319.


Reflection Activity: Communication in Aged Care

Communication encompasses both verbal and non-verbal forms...
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