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Quality care for people with dementia in the community: Testing the efficacy of a communication skills training program for professional community based home care workers

Dr Erin Conway, Prof Helen Chenery
Research Centre DCRC Carers and Consumers
Partner Institution University of Queensland
Project Description


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Progressive deterioration in communcation abilities is a prominent and distressing feature of dementia and results in negative psychosocial and functional consequences for both people with dementia and their caregivers. The use of techniques to facilitate verbal communication with people with dementia will help mitigate these negative effects and maximise care staff's capacity to provide person-centred care.

The MESSAGE communication strategy training program has been developed to provide caregivers with the tools to maximise communication function with people with dementia and has led to positive outcomes for residential aged care facility staff.

However, little is currently known about best practice for communication facilitation and person-centred care for professional caregivers outside of aged care facilities, despite the current shift toward home-based care for people with dementia.

This project will assess the efficacy of providing MESSAGE training to community-based care professionals, with additional audio-visual monitoring and feedback to maximise and maintain the communicative competence of the care assistants, the communicative involvement of people with dementia and the psychosocial benefits of care.

The research will develop best practice recommendations for service providers and the government regarding training and maintenance of communication skills which will assist health workers to provide continuing person-centred care over the entire care continuum.

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