Positive changes in certified nursing assistants’ communication behaviors with people with dementia: Feasibility of a coaching strategy

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Abstract

Purpose: This study investigated whether a 6-week coaching strategy resulted in positive changes in self-perceived knowledge and efficacy (SPKE) and positive communication behaviors in certified nursing assistants (CNAs) working with people with dementia in a skilled nursing facility. It also assessed the impact of the coaching strategy on negative responsive behaviors of people with dementia, such as yelling out, hitting, or spitting. Method: Seven CNAs and seven people with dementia completed this study. Pretesting and posttesting were conducted for CNAs’ SPKE. A single-subject, multiple-baseline design across five communication behaviors, the positive communication approach checklist, was completed to assess CNA communication behaviors after completion of a coaching strategy. Pretesting and posttesting of responsive behaviors of people with dementia were completed with the Cohen–Mansfield Agitation Inventory. Results: Six out of seven CNAs improved their SPKE from pre-to postcoaching; however, this difference was not statistically significant. Per the positive communication approach checklist, there was a statistically significant increase, from baseline to follow-up, in CNA positive communication behaviors when interacting with people with dementia. The frequency of overall responsive behaviors of people with dementia significantly decreased from pre-to postcoaching, per the Cohen–Mansfield Agitation Inventory. Conclusions: There is preliminary evidence to support the feasibility of a coaching strategy for the implementation of positive communication behaviors by CNAs when communicating with people with dementia. Negative responsive behaviors of people with dementia also decreased. Speech-language pathologists should consider acting as coaches to support positive communication for people with dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-252
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

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