Engagement is the state of being occupied and involved in a task or activity.
There are a variety ways of measuring engagement across social settings, populations, and disciplines. Until now, Recreation Professionals have lacked a standard form to document the engagement of the individual’s they serve.
Commonly used terms for measuring engagement have included:
Active, Passive, Engaged, Disengaged
These terms although common, are subjective and do not paint a clear picture of an individuals involvement in the task or activity. An Active participant may not necessarily be a satisfied participant. They could be Actively disruptive to the group or personally agitated. The goal of person centered care is to provide services that align with individuals interests and ultimately lead to satisfaction with care.
Measuring engagement for Non-Verbal Individuals
In the later stages of dementia, many individuals have difficulty with verbal communication, and may often have poor word finding, or not be able to verbally communicate their needs altogether. This does not mean that they no longer have desires, preferences, or feelings such as satisfaction. The following is a list of ways in which a practitioner may be able to gauge engagement and satisfaction of a non-verbal individual:
- Be observant of body language
- Speak with family, friends, or staff who may have known them prior to their current condition. They may be able to assist with identifying interests, or ways in which the individual is showing their satisfaction.
- Minimize distractions in the area so that you can determine if they are satisfied with what is happening in the group or activity as opposed to an outside stimuli.
- Use assistive devices such as picture boards, communication cards, or technology.
- Ask questions that require yes or no answers, rather then questions that would force the individual to have to go into details that they cannot remember or express.
- Use all senses to communicate – sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste.