A study is described which examined the efficacy of group intervention programmes using trained volunteers as agents of intervention with elderly nursing home residents with communication impairments. A series of intervention programmes, which consisted of six weekly sessions, was designed. Sessions were a combination of information giving, discussion and practical components where residents could practise newly acquired skills. Sessions covered a number of core components--the communication process, comprehension, expression and pragmatics, as well as information that was specific to the communication impairment. Volunteers were trained to administer the programme. Four groups of communicatively impaired elderly people were included in the study--a group of hearing-impaired residents, those with communication impairment subsequent to Parkinson's disease, those with communication impairment subsequent to cerebrovascular accident and those in varying stages of dementia. Results indicated that, although the residents studied responded very individually to the intervention strategies, with several subjects failing to demonstrate any gains in communicative competence from pre- to post-intervention, positive gains in communication skills and self-management of communicative impairment were observed for a number of subjects. Complicating factors such as general health and well-being are considered as uncontrollable variables in the measurement of performance in the elderly.