Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and non-randomised controlled trials of non-pharmacological interventions aimed at improved communication in people with dementia living in residential care homes or nursing homes and/or professional caregivers working in long-term care facilities with patients with dementia were eligible for inclusion. If groups of residents were mixed with non-residents, at least 80% had to be residents or the results had to be available separately. Communication was defined as any sharing of information by speaking, writing, body movements or signalling. Multi-component interventions were eligible for inclusion if they included a communication component. Relevant outcomes included those that addressed the quantity or quality of communication or the non-communication of participants. Reviews, pharmacological interventions and trials in which participants served as their own control group were excluded.
The included trials were RCTs, controlled trials or quasi-experimental controlled trials and included participants with predominantly moderate to severe dementia. Two distinct trial types were identified: set-time trials in which the intervention was given during a specific time; and daily-care trials in which the intervention was given during daily tasks. Interventions in the set-time trials included a walking programme combined with communication, group validation therapy, life review programmes, cognitive stimulation therapy and activity therapy. Interventions in the daily care trials included educational programmes for caregivers, memory programmes, nursing assistant educational programmes and other programmes aimed at training caregivers to provide better communication. Reported outcomes included eye contact, communication, apathy, various communication scales or checklists and neuropsychiatric outcomes.
Two authors independently undertook study selection.