The development of a dementia communication intervention for undergraduate nurses based on the VERA framework

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Sisk, Ali-Rose
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University College Cork
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Background: Patients with dementia experience emotional distress due to difficulties communicating physical and social needs. This is compounded by inadequate dementia communication skills among qualified nurses and student nurses. Aim: The project aims were to adapt a dementia communication training intervention, examine acceptability among undergraduate nursing students and test the feasibility of designing a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the intervention. Methods: The intervention involved a 1.5-hour dementia communication workshop based on the VERA framework and used information giving, role play, discussion and student manual. Study Design: A quasi-experimental pre-post control trial was used with mixed-methods data collection (student survey, semi-structured interview and non-participatory observations of students in clinical practice). Results: In total, 49 students completed the post intervention survey (i=26, c=23). There was a significant increase in awareness of person-centred response scores in the intervention group 13.1 (SD1.95), compared to the control group 10.6 (SD3.0), p=0.03, there was no other significant differences. Eleven students were observed interacting with patients with dementia (n=219 interactions). There was no significant difference between the groups with missed opportunity for positive interactions observed in both groups. Qualitative interviews with students (n=8) that received the intervention indicated they valued the training but inconsistently used the dementia communication skills in practice. Barriers to implementing the new skills were a lack of role modelling from qualified staff, busy environment and little emphasis on person-centred interactions in clinical practice. Conclusion: The VERA dementia communication intervention was well received by students and may increase their ability to identify person-centred responses, but this may not change communication behaviour. This feasibility study, suggest that a RCT may not be possible and other pragmatic trail designs should be used to evaluate this education intervention.
VERA framework , Alzheimer's , Undergraduate nurses , Student nurses , Dementia training , Skills , Training , Knowledge , Communication skills , Students , Pre-registration , Intervention , Education , Program(me) , Interprofessional , Dementia
Sisk, A-R. 2020. The development of a dementia communication intervention for undergraduate nurses based on the VERA framework. MRes Thesis, University College Cork.