The Correlated Factors of Communication Impairment and Its Relationships Between Depressive Symptoms and Quality of Life Among Elders in Long-Term Care Facilities in Taipei, Taiwan
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Purpose: Communication is extremely important in human daily life. However, communication impairment is a significant health problem among disabled elders in the long-term care (LTC) facilities. Speech and hearing dysfunction often affect and limit to get along with caregivers and other residents. To explore related factors of communication impairment and its relationships between depressive symptoms and quality of life among LTC residents in Taiwan. Methods: Residents who are aged over 65 in LTC facilities in northern Taiwan were enrolled in this study. Health information was gathered by using the Minimum Data Set (Nursing Home Chinese Version 2.1) to explore factors associated with communication impairment. Quality of life (QoL) were assessed by SF12 questionnaire, and depressive symptoms were screened by the Short Form Geriatric Depression Scale. Results: Subjects (mean age= 80.2 +/- 7.8 years) include 298 male (72.7%) and 112 female (27.3%) with normal or mild cognitive impairment. The prevalence of communication impairment was 31.5%. 45.9% were functionally independent and 18.5% had depressive symptoms. Compared with residents without communication impairment, subjects with communication impairment had poorer physical and mental QoL (t=2.3, p=0.02; t=2.0, p=0.047, respectively) and more depressive symptoms (t=3.0, p=0.003). By using logistic regression, we found that older (OR=1.07, 95% CI=1.04-1.11, < 0.001) and ADLs (OR=0.98, 95% CI=0.97-0.99, < 0.001) were both independent risk factors for communication impairment. Conclusion: Communication impairment of residents had lower QoL and more depressive symptoms. The significant risk factors for communication impairment of residents in LTC facilities included poorer physical function and aging. It suggests that providing appropriate equipment to communicate easily for elderly and increase non-verbal communicative abilities for staff. This, in turn, may reduce the negative effects of communication impairment on mood and increase the QoL for residents of these facilities.