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01.12.2014 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

BMC Geriatrics 1/2014

The effects of a Cognitive Stimulation Therapy [CST] programme for people with dementia on family caregivers’ health

BMC Geriatrics > Ausgabe 1/2014
Elisa Aguirre, Zoe Hoare, Aimee Spector, Robert T Woods, Martin Orrell
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1471-2318-14-31) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interest

AS runs the CST training course on a commercial basis. EA, AS, BW and MO have co-authored the CST and Maintenance CST manual, the royalties from which are received by the Dementia Services Development Centre Wales.

Authors’ contributions

All authors participated and contributed to design and conduct of the SHIELD-Maintenance CST trial and commented on drafts, read and approved the final manuscript. EA lead the writing of this paper and wrote the first draft of the presented manuscript, implemented the design and overall organisation of the trial; managed the development of the programme; recruited all centres that took part in the trial; recruited and assessed participants and ran some of the intervention groups. ZH was trial statistician and led data management and analysis of the trial. AS was a co-applicant and provided clinical supervision for the researchers running the intervention and contributed to the theory behind the trial. RTW was co-applicant and principal investigator for clinical psychology. MO was principal applicant and chief investigator; he led the design and execution the trial.



There is growing evidence that Cognitive Simulation Therapy (CST) benefits cognition and quality of life of people with dementia, but little is known about the indirect effects of this intervention on family caregivers. This study sought to investigate the effect of CST on family caregivers general health status of people with dementia living in the community attending the CST intervention.


Eighty-five family caregivers of people with dementia took part in the study. All the people with dementia received the standard twice weekly seven weeks of the CST intervention plus either 24 weeks of a maintenance CST (MCST) intervention or 24 weeks of treatment as usual. Family caregivers were assessed before and after their relatives the CST programme, and after 3 and 6 months of the MCST programme. A pre and post CST groups comparison was undertaken to evaluate the open trial first phase and an ANCOVA model used to analyse the maintenance phase with its controlled comparison.


We found no evidence for a benefit on the family caregiver outcome measures of the intervention before and after CST groups by using a t-test analysis or any significant differences between intervention and control groups for any of the variables considered at any time point (3 and 6 month follow up).


CST seems to have a relatively specific benefit fpr people with dementia that may not carry over to family carers. Future studies need to further explore and compare the effects that CST might bring to family caregivers of people with dementia attending the intervention.

Trial registration

Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN26286067
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