Field-testing phase of the development of individual cognitive stimulation therapy (iCST) for dementia
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BACKGROUND: Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) groups for people with dementia are available nationally, and internationally through voluntary organisations, memory services, and in residential care settings. However, groups may not be accessible or best suited for all. Individual Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (iCST) has been developed to provide another means of accessing CST.METHODS: The programme was field tested by 22 dyads (carers and people with dementia). Dyads were trained in the iCST approach and provided with a manual and accompanying resources. Researchers contacted dyads weekly to provide support and gather adherence data. Quantitative feedback about each session was also collected using 'Monitoring Progress' forms. Upon completion of their allocation sessions, researchers interviewed dyads about their experience. In total, nine dyads were followed up. Inductive thematic analysis was performed on the qualitative data. The aims of field testing were to assess the feasibility of the programme, and the appropriateness of the iCST materials.RESULTS: Sixty-two percent of the themes received an overall 'high' rating, and the majority of activities were classed as 'low' difficulty. Common barriers to completing sessions were; lack of time, illness, and motivation. Carers felt the manual and resources were 'good' and easy to use. Benefits of the programme for the person included; improvements in communication, mood, and alertness. The programme also gave carers insight into the person's abilities and interests, and provided a new channel of communication. Little support was needed to deliver the programme.CONCLUSIONS: Implementation of the iCST intervention was feasible. However, the majority of dyads completed fewer than three sessions per week. The training and support package appeared to be suitable as carers were able to deliver the intervention without intensive support. Barriers occurred largely as a result of life commitments, rather than problems with the intervention itself. This study was limited by a high loss to follow up rate. The effectiveness and cost effectiveness of iCST were investigated in a large scale randomised controlled trial (RCT).TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN65945963 Date of trial registration: 05/05/2010.