SCIE Research briefing 34: Communication training for care home workers: outcomes for older people, staff, families and friends

By Jo Moriarty, Meiling Kam, Caroline Coomber, Deborah Rutter and Michael Turner

Published: November 2010

This briefing draws on a range of UK and internationally published research to look at training to improve nursing and residential care workers' communication skills.

Key messages

  • Training can improve the way that staff working in care homes communicate with older people.
  • ‘Refresher’ sessions and regular feedback are needed to maintain these improvements. Training works best when it is part of a wider commitment to quality improvement.
  • Staff think that communications training helps improve their knowledge and understanding of the issues faced by older people and their family carers.
  • Where communications training leads to improvements in the quality of social interactions between staff and older people, this can in turn lead to improvements in older people’s quality of life and well-being.
  • Our current knowledge is limited by the quality and type of research that has been done on training. More studies looking at the effects of training in the long term and more drawing on the perspectives of older people and carers are needed.

About the development of this research briefing

Scoping and searching

Scoping began in December 2009; further searching took place January ot February 2010.

Research briefing methodology

SCIE research briefing methodology was followed throughout (inclusion criteria; material not comprehensively quality assured; evidence synthesised and key messages formulated by author): see research briefing methodology for a full description.

Peer review and testing

Lead author is a topic expert. The briefing was peer reviewed internally for methodology, and externally by an independent topic expert.


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  • Communication training for care home workers: outcomes for older people, staff, families and friends