Evaluating the MESSAGE communication strategies in dementia training for use with community-based aged care staff working with people with dementia: A controlled pretest-post-test study
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Aims and Objectives:
The study aims to evaluate the effects of a communication skills training programme on community aged care staff's knowledge of communication support in dementia and on staff's care experience.
Dementia can lead to impairments in communication. Therefore, quality community-based dementia care requires that staff be skilled communicators, equipped to facilitate interactions with people with dementia. The current investigation evaluated the effectiveness of the MESSAGE Communication Strategies in Dementia for Care Staff training programme with respect to knowledge of communication support and the staff/caregiver experience.
A multi-centre controlled pretest/post-test design with randomised cohort allocation was used. Outcome measures were completed at baseline, immediately after training (training group only), and at three-month follow-up.
Thirty-eight care staff working in community aged care participated and completed all outcome measures (training = 22; control = 16).Training and control groups completed the following outcome measures: knowledge of communication support strategies, self-efficacy, preparedness to provide care, strain in nursing care and attitude to dementia care. Staff in the training group provided written feedback on the training.
A significant improvement in knowledge scores from baseline was found for the training group both immediately after training and at three-month follow-up. There was also a significant training effect for self-efficacy and preparedness to provide care. No significant difference was found for the control group for any measure. No significant training effects were found for measures of strain or attitudes to dementia care. Feedback from staff suggests that the training was well received.
The MESSAGE training was positively received by staff and had a significant effect on care staff knowledge, and confidence to provide care for people with dementia. Relevance to clinical practice: The easily accessible multimedia training programme is well received by staff and has the potential to improve quality of care.
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This document has been peer reviewed.