VIPS Communication Skills Training for Paraprofessional Dementia Caregivers: An Intervention to Increase Person-Centered Dementia Care

Stacey A. Passalacqua, James T Harwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


A communication skills intervention was developed based on Dawn Brooker's four elements of person-centered dementia care: Valuing people, Individualized care, Personal perspectives, and Social environment (VIPS). The aim of this study was to test the feasibility of a series of workshops built around VIPS, intended to increase the person-centered communication, beliefs, and attitudes among paraprofessional dementia caregivers in a long-term care facility. The effect of the intervention on communication strategies, caregiver burnout, and other variables associated with the quality of caregiving was examined using a pre- and post-test design. Details of the intervention design and execution are discussed, as are findings regarding intervention outcomes. The intervention was determined to be highly feasible based on successful implementation, positive caregiver feedback, and promising exploratory analyses of outcome measures. Following the workshops there was a reduction in caregiver depersonalization of residents and an increase in both empathy and hope for those with dementia. In addition, caregivers reported using more concrete communication strategies known to be effective with those who suffer from dementia. Given this encouraging preliminary evidence, the VIPS communication skills intervention is suggested as a useful tool to improve the quality of dementia care provided by paraprofessional caregivers in long-term care facilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-445
Number of pages21
JournalClinical Gerontologist
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012



  • communication skills
  • dementia caregivers
  • person-centered care
  • training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)

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