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Lauren Yates reflects on iCST event concluding major research project

By Kim Morgan, on 12 January 2015


Individual Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (iCST) is a programme of mentally stimulating activities for carers and people with dementia to do together at home. Typically pairs complete up to 3, 20-30 minute sessions per week over 25 weeks. Each session is themed (eg: word games, current affairs, being creative) with a choice of activities to cater for the interests and abilities of the person.


iCST is based on group Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST), an evidence based psychosocial intervention, which has been found to benefit cognition and quality of life for people with dementia (see www.cstdementia.com for more information). With input from carers, people with dementia, and experts in the field, the iCST programme and materials were developed to cater for those unable to access CST groups. The programme was then evaluated in a large scale randomized controlled trial (RCT) across 8 research sites in the UK: London, Bangor, Hull, Manchester, Dorset, Devon, Lincolnshire, and Norfolk & Suffolk.


In early December we held an event for members of the iCST teams and study participants at Friends House to mark the end of the trial. We wanted to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of those involved, and share the results of the main trial and quantitative interviews. In addition to presentations from Professor Martin Orrell, Phuong Leung, and myself from the London team, the day included talks from Dr. Ruth Newman who gave us a lively and entertaining account of Devon team’s experience of iCST, and Dave Prothero who gave us a compelling insight into the experience and value of patient public involvement (PPI) in research.


It was a real pleasure to host the event, and to have the opportunity to catch up with teams and carers I enjoyed working with over the course of the study. For me, the highlight of the day was being able to present everyone with the newly published iCST Manual ‘Making a Difference 3’ (see careinfo.org for more information), and show clips from the accompanying DVD. The partnerships we established with the various research sites were very successful, and we hope that there will be other opportunities to collaborate on future research projects.

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