Appropriate communication skills are essential for understanding patient needs, particularly those of patients with dementia. Assessing health care providers' competence in communicating with patients with dementia is critical for planning a communication education program. However, no formally established scale can be used. The purpose of the current study was to develop a valid and reliable instrument for determining the communication competence of health care providers with patients with dementia. Through use of a literature review and previous clinical experience, an initial 28-item scale was developed to assess the frequency of use of each item by health care providers. Fourteen items were extracted and three factors were distinguished. Results indicated that the internal consistency reliability of the 14-item scale was 0.84. Favorable convergent and discriminant validities were reached. The communication competence scale provides administrators or educators with a useful tool for assessing communication competence of health care providers when interacting with patients with dementia so a suitable education program can be planned and implemented.
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