Dementia Connect: Adaptation and co-creation of a communication partner training program for families of people with dementia
The communication changes that occur in dementia are the most challenging aspect of living with dementia, for both the person and their families, linked to depression, isolation, changed behaviours, and reduced quality of life. Dementia guidelines therefore recommend communication partner training (CPT), where families are trained in supportive communication strategies. However, many CPT programs are not easy to access (especially online), not often informed by consumers, and may not incorporate effective training techniques to lead to long-term changes. To support communication, our team has asked: can an existing CPT program for people with traumatic brain injury (TBI) be adapted to dementia? We aim to co-create a CPT program with people living with dementia, their communication partners, and speech pathologists, through adaptation of an existing, evidence-based program called “Convers-ABI-lity” (previously “TBI Connect”). As the communication strategies for dementia and TBI often overlap, using a high-quality example of a CPT program provides an initial reference point to support co-creation for a dementia-specific resource. Through interviews and workshops, stakeholders will evaluate “Convers-ABI-lity” and collaborate as joint decision makers with the research team on required changes and modifications. The end-product will be 'Dementia Connect', a co-created CPT program for families of people with dementia.
Naomi Folder is a speech pathologist and PhD Candidate at University of Technology Sydney, focusing her research on communication in dementia and communication partner training (CPT).