Interventions for communication in moderate–severe dementia (Swan et al., 2018)

<div><b>Purpose:</b> The purpose of this study is to evaluate the evidence for direct and indirect interventions for communication in people with moderate–severe dementia.</div><div><b>Method: </b>A systematic search of the literature was conducted, as per the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysed guidelines, across 8 electronic databases. Studies were included if they included direct or indirect interventions, which could be administered by a speech-language pathologist to people with moderate–severe dementia (defined as having Mini-Mental State Examination of ≤ 15; Folstein, Folstein, & McHugh, 1975). Studies also were required to include outcome measures, which reported on communication function or participation and/or well-being related to communication. Included studies were evaluated for methodological quality using the McMaster critical appraisal tool (Law et al., 1998).</div><div><b>Results: </b>Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria. Ten of these studies related to direct interventions and included cognitive stimulation approaches using group (<i>n </i>= 5) or individual therapy (<i>n</i> = 1); cognitive training, including naming therapy (<i>n</i> = 1) and spaced retrieval training (<i>n</i> = 1); and cognitive rehabilitation approaches using augmentative and alternative communication (<i>n</i> = 2). One study reported an indirect intervention: conversation partner training. Due </div><div>to the heterogeneity of studies, a meta-analysis was unable to be conducted. A descriptive synthesis of results indicated that interventions generally resulted in positive changes to communication and related quality-of-life outcomes compared with baseline or control groups.</div><div><b>Conclusions: </b>Preliminary evidence was found to support communication interventions for people with moderate–severe dementia. The use of cognitive stimulation approaches, which use a group treatment model and conversation, as a therapy medium show promise as direct intervention options. Implications for clinical practice for speech-language pathologists and future research are discussed.</div><div><br></div><div><b>Supplemental Material S1. </b>Search strategy. </div><div><br></div><div>Swan, K., Hopper, M., Wenke, R., Jackson, C., Till, T., & Conway, E. (2018). Speech-language pathologist interventions for communication in moderate–severe dementia: A systematic review. <i>American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 27, </i>836–852<i>. </i></div>