Functional Communication with AD Patients: A Caregiver Training Program

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The loss of functional communication in Alzheimer disease (AD) results from the disproportionate breakdowns in the pragmatic and semantic areas of language in these patients. Communication breakdown is regularly listed among the top four stressors in measures of stress and burden of AD caregivers. A caregiver training program designed around seven specific communication strategies can be used to alter communication interactions. As a pilot program, the acronym FOCUSED organized the seven strategies for easy recall (Face-to-face, Orientation, Continuity, Unsticking, Structure, Exchanges, and Direct). Significant differences in both attitude toward AD patients, knowledge of AD, and knowledge of communication strategies were shown in comparisons of pre- and posttraining assessments.

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