Dementia Rehabilitation - Chapter 3: Communication interventions for people with dementia and their communication partners

Elsevier, Dementia Rehabilitation, October 2020, Pages 35-56
Sarah El-Wahsh, Penelope Monroe, Fiona Kumfor, Kirrie Ballard

This chapter reviews behavioral interventions and strategies for spoken communication for people with dementia and their communication partners. Communication changes in dementia are influenced by factors including dementia etiology, location of neuropathology, and disease stage. Comprehensive communication assessment aims to cover all levels of the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health framework (ICF). Communication intervention should take a person-centered approach that focuses on co-designing functional and personally meaningful goals. Four communication interventions are reviewed: word retrieval intervention, script training, memory books, and communication partner training. Currently, there is strongest evidence supporting communication partner training and memory book use across various dementia etiologies. Word retrieval intervention and script training have only been evaluated for use in primary progressive aphasia (PPA). Health professionals with expertise in the assessment and management of communication are an integral part of the multidisciplinary care team of people with dementia.