International Psychogeriatrics

Nursing home staff training in dementia care: a systematic review of evaluated programs

Bettina Kuske a1, Stephanie Hanns a2, Tobias Luck a1, Matthias C. Angermeyer a1, Johann Behrens a2 and Steffi G. Riedel-Heller a1c1
a1 Department of Psychiatry, University of Leipzig, Johannisallee 20, D-04317 Leipzig, Germany
a2 Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Nursing Science, Martin-Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, Magdeburger Str. 8, D-06097 Halle/Saale, Germany

Article author query
kuske b   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
hanns s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
luck t   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
angermeyer mc   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
behrens j   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
riedel-heller s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Background: We reviewed studies of in-service interventions for caregivers of persons with dementia in nursing homes published between 1990 and 2004. The aim was to obtain an overview of the evaluated interventions and to characterize their methodological quality.

Methods: A thorough literature search was conducted, including searching electronic databases for selected intervention studies and previous reviews. Selected studies were summarized and compared along certain categories, and methodological quality was assessed.

Results: A total of 21 studies were identified, mostly published in the United States. Most were of poor methodological quality. Although nearly all reported positive effects, their results must be interpreted cautiously due to methodological weaknesses. Extensive interventions with ongoing support successfully demonstrated sustained implementation of new knowledge. Owing to methodological weaknesses and a lack of follow-up evaluations, little or no evidence existed for the efficacy or, particularly, the transfer of knowledge in simpler interventions when reinforcing and enabling factors were not present.

Conclusion: On an international and, particularly, on a national level a lack of evaluated in-service training programs for caregivers in homes for people with dementia is apparent. Methodological weakness is common. This study highlights the need for well-defined methodologically improved studies, providing conclusive evidence of the effects of intervention types to help improve the quality of dementia care.

(Received February 28 2006)
(revision requested March 23 2006)
(revised version received July 20 2006)
(Accepted July 20 2006)
(Published Online October 20 2006)

Key Words: long-term care; institutional staff training; dementia; evaluation; intervention research.

c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: Prof. Steffi G. Riedel Heller, Johannisallee 20, 04317 Leipzig, Germany. Phone: +49 341 9724530; Fax: +49 341 9724539. Email: