Karger Open Access
Background: Strategies to improve communication in people with dementia are warranted. We examined the effect of the Sonas programme on communication ability in persons with moderate to severe dementia. Methods: A 24-week 3-armed (Sonas, reading, and control group) randomized controlled trial including 120 nursing home residents with dementia was conducted; 105 completed the follow-up assessments. The main outcome was change in communication abilities measured by the Holden Communication Scale (HCS). Results: We found no overall significant effect of the Sonas programme with regard to communication ability as measured by the HCS. However, an effect between the Sonas group and the reading group and between the Sonas group and the control group from T0 to T1 and T2 was found, as well as a significant improvement in communication in the Sonas group. Among people with severe dementia, the Sonas group scored significantly better on the HCS compared to the reading group after 12 weeks, but not after 24 weeks. Conclusion: This study failed to document an overall effect of the Sonas programme on communication; however, the findings indicate that the Sonas programme has a significant effect on communication among those with severe dementia.
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