Cognitive Stimulation Therapy training in West Berkshire

ContactHelen Single, Long Term Conditions Commissioning Manager – Disease Management Programmes, NHS Berkshire West
Telephone0118 982 2701
Address55-57 Bath Road, Reading, RG30 2BA

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) is the only non-medication treatment for Dementia recommended by the National Institute for clinical Excellence (NICE). It is a group intervention for people with mild to moderate Dementia involving 14 sessions of themed activity which support implicit learning using a person centred approach. Sessions aim to actively stimulate and engage people with dementia, whilst providing an optimal learning environment and the social benefits of a group. CST can be administered by anyone working with people with dementia, such as care workers, Occupational Therapists or nurses. CST groups can take place in settings including residential homes, hospitals or day centres.

We aim to address the gap in provision highlighted by people with Dementia who have expressed disappointment when their CST course comes to an end. By delivering formal training to staff working in Day Centres and Extra Care Housing Schemes, and providing them with the opportunity to observe and participate in established CST courses, we will ensure they have the confidence and capability to run CST in their workplace thereby adopting and extending best practice across care settings in the West of Berkshire and enabling more people with Dementia to engage in this evidence based approach for longer.

Key deliverables

  • Recruit or second a part-time mental health practitioner (MHP) for 1 year to coordinate project, provide support and supervision, (including co-facilitation of CST groups in day centres/ housing) evaluate outcomes and facilitate development of CST network
  • Identify 3-4 providers each from West Berkshire, Wokingham and Reading, able to release a minimum of 2 interested and capable staff per service to participate in the project – time out of workplace equates to 8 working days within the first 4 months.
  • 1 day training course for a maximum of 30 care workers from Day Centres/Extra Care settings – to be delivered by Aimee Spector.
  • Trainees to shadow 14 sessions of CST run by Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust (BHFT) developing confidence in their ability to correctly apply the approach independently
  • Trainees to plan and run CST in their setting with support from MHP initially
  • Set up CST learning/support network aimed at maintaining consistency and quality of provision beyond the life of the project
  • MHP to assist providers with the development of leaflets to promote benefits of new provision which could be purchased privately or from an individual’s personal budget
  • MHP to complete project evaluation and scoping exercise regarding feasibility of extending this training to more providers including Residential Homes.

Anticipated outcomes

This proposal would enable more people with Dementia to experience the proven positive impact of CST for a longer period including:

  • Improved /maintained cognitive functioning – measured by cognitive screening before CST, after completion of 14 sessions and 3 monthly thereafter, plus participant and carer feedback
  • Improved confidence/self-esteem/ sense of achievement  – participant survey
  • Peer support – for people with Dementia by people with Dementia – participant and facilitator feedback
  • Promotion of communication, interaction, enjoyment and fun for people with Dementia – measured by observation and feedback from participants, facilitators and carers.
  • Improved quality of life for people with Dementia and their carers – measured by Quality of Life Alzheimer’s Disease Scales (QoL-AD) and carer survey

These outcomes should also have a positive impact on the relationship between the person with Dementia and their carer, supporting these individuals to live well with Dementia.

Progress update

The approach could be replicated in other areas. Once fully evaluated, we hope to replicate in East Berkshire.