An evaluation of a family visit education program

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1999 Feb;47(2):203-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1999.tb04579.x.


Objectives: This study was designed to examine the impact of the Family Visit Education Program (FVEP) on family members, nursing staff, and nursing home residents with dementia.

Design: The study employed a 2 x 3 single-blind, randomized control group design with two study conditions, FVEP or usual care (UC), and three times of measurement, baseline, 3-months, and 6-months.

Setting: The study was conducted in five skilled-care nursing homes that ranged in size from 120 to 300 beds.

Participants: Sixty-six residents with dementia and their primary visitor were randomly assigned to FVEP (n = 32) or UC (n = 34).

Measurements: Residents were assessed for (1) psychosocial functioning, (2) depression, (3) agitated behavior, and (4) degree of positive social interaction. Nursing staff were assessed for changes in the time and methods used to manage problem behaviors. Visitors were assessed for (1) dementia management skills, (2) extent of perceived caregiving hassles, and (3) visit satisfaction.

Results: FVEP was effective for reducing residents' problem behaviors and for decreasing their symptoms of depression and irritability. It was also effective for improving the way family members and other visitors communicated with residents, but, with the exception of reducing the use of mechanical restraints, it was not effective in changing nurses' management of residents' behavior problems.

Conclusions: It is possible to educate family members to communicate and interact more effectively with nursing home residents with dementia. This has beneficial effects on residents but not on nursing staff's management of problem behaviors.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caregivers / education
  • Caregivers / psychology
  • Communication
  • Cost of Illness
  • Dementia / nursing*
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Family* / psychology
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Homes for the Aged*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Visitors to Patients / education*
  • Visitors to Patients / psychology