Objectives: To update previous reviews and provide a more detailed overview of the effectiveness, acceptability and conceptual basis of communication training-interventions for carers of people living with dementia.

Method: We searched CINAHL Plus, MEDLINE and PsycINFO using a specific search and extraction protocol, and PRISMA guidelines. Two authors conducted searches and extracted studies that reported effectiveness, efficacy or acceptability data regarding a communication training-intervention for carers of people living with dementia. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration guidelines. Quality of qualitative studies was also systematically assessed.

Results: Searches identified 450 studies (after de-duplication). Thirty-eight studies were identified for inclusion in the review. Twenty-two studies focused on professional carers; 16 studies focused mainly on family carers. Training-interventions were found to improve communication and knowledge. Overall training-interventions were not found to significantly improve behaviour that challenges and caregiver burden. Acceptability levels were high overall, but satisfaction ratings were found to be higher for family carers than professional carers. Although many interventions were not supported by a clear conceptual framework, person-centred care was the most common framework described.

Conclusion: This review indicated that training-interventions were effective in improving carer knowledge and communication skills. Effective interventions involved active participation by carers and were generally skills based (including practicing skills and discussion). However, improvements to quality of life and psychological wellbeing of carers and people living with dementia may require more targeted interventions.

L. Morris, M. Horne, P. McEvoy & T. Williamson

Aging & Mental Health, Volume 22, 2018 – Issue 7

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Communication training interventions for family and professional carers of people living with dementia: a systematic review of effectiveness, acceptability and conceptual basis [2018]