Is individual cognitive stimulation therapy beneficial for people with dementia?
Background: Group Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) has been found to be effective in improving cognitive functioning and quality of life in people with dementia. However, little is known about whether it would be effective if delivered in an individual format. Design: A small n within-subjects, repeated measures design was used, with participants acting as their own control, to assess whether Individual CST was beneficial for people with vascular dementia. Method: 27 research packs were distributed, 12 returned the opt-in slip, eight completed the therapy and five participants (with a diagnosis of vascular dementia) were included in this study. Participants completed a four-week baseline period, seven-weeks of Individual CST, followed by a four-week follow up period. Outcome variables were cognitive functioning (assessed at start of baseline and end of intervention), quality of life and self efficacy (assessed at start of baseline, start of intervention, end of intervention and end of follow up) and anxiety and depression (assessed weekly). Results: Cognitive functioning was maintained or improved in four out of five participants. Improvements tended to be in the memory and language domains but declined in the attention domain. Participant quality of life and anxiety and depression ratings were also maintained or improved following the intervention. Conclusion: This research suggests that Individual CST may be beneficial for people with vascular dementia in terms of maintaining or improving cognitive function, improving quality of life and mood. This has implications for the provision of future interventions for dementia. Further research is required to further build on these findings in addition to assessing cost-effectiveness before Individual CST is offered as a therapeutic option.