The Effectiveness and Characteristics of Communication Partner Training Programs for Families of People With Dementia: A Systematic Review. By: Folder, Naomi; Power, Emma; Rietdijk, Rachael; Christensen, Iben; Togher, Leanne and Parker, Deborah. Gerontologist. Vol. 64 Issue 4, p1-19.

Background and Objectives Communication partner training (CPT) is essential in dementia care. Despite families being the largest group of community carers, previous reviews primarily focused on formal carers. This study aimed to understand the characteristics and effectiveness of CPT for families of people with dementia. Research Design and Methods The systematic review included intervention/protocol studies on dementia CPT for families, excluding formal carers and programs not focused on communication. CINAHL, PsycINFO, SpeechBITE, Medline, SCOPUS, and Embase were searched between November 30 and December 6, 2021. After deduplication, 3,172 records were screened. Quality assessment used JBI Critical Appraisal tools and the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Data synthesis utilized three reporting tools, the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health, and content analysis. Results Of 30 studies (27 programs), there were 10 quasi-experimental, 5 RCTs, 4 mixed methods, 4 case studies, 4 qualitative, and 2 protocols. Studies were published between 1998 and 2021 and included 671 family members. Characteristics varied with 7/27 programs including consumers during creation and one program including telehealth. One study included all reporting tool criteria. Programs typically used 4 intervention functions, with 12/27 programs addressing 3 behavior change areas. 33/74 outcome measures targeted the “Environment” of the person with dementia. Studies showed positive improvements in communication skills and knowledge, with mixed results on behavior/psychosocial outcomes. Qualitative results identified improvements in conversation and attitudes. Discussion and Implications CPT for families improves communication outcomes, however, quality of studies varied significantly. Future research should address gaps in telehealth, consumer involvement, and intervention descriptions.