Communicating risk in dementia care: Survey of health and social care professionals.

Taylor et al. (2017) identify the tension professionals face between supporting clients choices that involve risk while demonstrating professional accountability. This paper reports on the results of a survey distributed to all health and social care professionals working in community dementia services across Northern Ireland. The survey examined verbal and numeric expression of risk, frequency of major risks, perceptions of risk likelihood, views on the value of visual aids to communicate risk and the issues of communicating risk in practice. The authors found limited understanding or association of numerical information and risk likelihood, with variation in the words chosen to explain numeric values and the numeric interpretation of probability of harm. Professionals were also inclined to over-estimate the frequency of serious events. Value was identified in the use of visual aids to communicate risk and the authors highlight the need for research in this area. Reflecting on the fact that words are more commonly used to communicate risk than numbers, the authors suggest research should also support the development of standardised, evidence based lexicons to improve risk communication.
Title: 
Communicating risk in dementia care: Survey of health and social care professionals.
Date: 
2017
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References: 
Taylor, B.J., Stevenson, M. and McDowell, M., 2017. Communicating risk in dementia care: Survey of health and social care professionals. Health & social care in the community.