The National Service Framework for Older People states 'treatment for dementia always involves using non-pharmacological management strategies such as mental stimulation'.
Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST), delivered through groups, is an evidence-based approach for people with dementia. The CST group programme was developed from a Cochrane systematic review of psychological interventions for people with dementia (1) and consists of 14, 45-minute sessions twice weekly for seven weeks for groups of five to eight people with dementia.
201 people were recruited for this multi-centre RCT from 23 centres (2) and the results showed improvements in quality of life and cognition.
The economic analysis showed CST was cost-effective (3), and in terms of Numbers Needed to Treat the results for cognition compared favourably with trials of cholinesterase inhibitors for Alzheimer's disease.
CST was the only non-pharmacological therapy recommended for treating cognitive symptoms of dementia by the NICE guidelines (4) which advised that cognitive stimulation should be available to people with dementia, regardless of medication received.
CST is now also being used globally, with work ongoing in at least 29 countries. The International CST Centre was set up to co-ordinate this work and it is directed by Prof Aimee Spector. For more information, please visit the International CST Centre University College London.