Everyday conversation in dementia: a review of the literature to inform research and practice

Jacqueline Kindell, John Keady, Karen Sage, Ray Wilkinson
2016 International journal of language and communication disorders  
There has been increasing interest in dementia care in recent years, including how practitioners, service providers and society in general can help individuals to live well with the condition. An important aspect to this is provision of advice to ensure conversation partners effectively support the person with dementia in conversation. Aims: To provide a descriptive review of the literature examining everyday conversation in dementia in order to inform practice and research. Methods &
more » ... : This review used a method specifically developed for reviewing conversation analytic and related literature. A range of databases were searched using key words and explicitly described inclusion criteria leading to a final corpus of 50 titles. Using this qualitative methodology, each paper was examined and data extracted. The contribution of each of these is described and the implications for practice and research are outlined. Main Contribution: This review examined studies into conversation in Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia and Lewy body dementia, grouping these into: early influential studies; work drawing on positioning theory; studies using social and linguistic approaches; collaborative storytelling; formulaic language; studies specifically using conversation analysis; and conversation as a target for individualized therapy. In addition, more recent work examining primary progressive aphasia and behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia was explored. Overall, this review indicates that research examining conversation in natural settings provides a rich source of data to explore not just the challenges within conversation for those taking part, but also the skills retained by the person with dementia. An important aspect of this understanding is the notion that these skills relate not only to information exchange but also aspects of social interaction. The role of others in scaffolding the conversation abilities of the person with dementia and the potential of this for developing interventions are discussed. Conclusions & Implications: The review indicates that interventions targeting conversation in dementia are often advocated in the literature but currently such approaches remain to be systematically evaluated. In addition, many of the important insights arising from these studies have yet to inform multidisciplinary dementia care practice. Conversation in dementia: a review 393 What this paper adds What is already known on the subject? There is an increasing interest globally in providing effective support for people with dementia and their family members. An important aspect to this consists of those interventions aimed at enhancing conversation in everyday life. Currently there are few reviews examining everyday conversation in dementia. Literature examining this area can be found in diverse fields and journals, meaning it can be difficult for the researcher or practitioner to gain an overview of work in this area. What this paper adds The review aims to identify, organize and translate systematically what is currently known about everyday conversation in dementia into a useable resource to inform practitioners and researchers of all disciplines. This study, therefore, provides a descriptive review of the literature to date, including how this currently impacts on dementia care and makes recommendations for future practice and research. Research examining conversation in natural settings provides a rich source of data to explore not just the challenges within conversation for those taking part, but also the skills retained by the person with dementia. These skills relate to information exchange and aspects of social interaction. Conversation partners have a crucial role in scaffolding the conversation abilities of the person with dementia. There is potential for developing interventions around conversation, however, dementia care has so far not exploited such approaches in research or practice. Conversation in Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia and Lewy body dementia Early influential studies in dementia communication
doi:10.1111/1460-6984.12298 pmid:27891726 pmcid:PMC5467725 fatcat:jhf5mawnizdmzivc6gdcqc5fpi