iCST Individual Cognitive Stimulation Therapy UCL


iCST Programme

A programme of research to improve quality of life and cognition for people with dementia (This study completed in 2017) 

What is the iCST programme?

Life story

The iCST study is a Health and Technology Assessment funded programme (HTA), sponsored by University College London (UCL).

It aims to increase quality of life and cognition for people with dementia.

In response to the government's emphasis on improving early interventions and home care for people with dementia, we have developed a home-based individual Cognition Stimulation Therapy (CST) package delivered by family carers.

What is iCST Therapy?

A picture showing two people

Individual Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (iCST) is based on the evidence-based group CST therapy for people with mild to moderate dementia, which has been found to be beneficial for cognition and quality of life.

The individual CST programme is delivered by a relative or close friend of the person with dementia for:

  • 30 minutes 
  • 3 times a week
  • over 25 weeks

Each individual CST session consists of a themed activity (i.e. life story, discussion of current affairs, being creative) and is designed to be mentally stimulating.

Why I have to take part?


It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part.

If you do decide to take part,  you will be given an information sheet to keep and be asked to sign a consent form.

A decision to withdraw at any time, or a decision not to take part, will not affect the standard of care you or your relative/friend receives.

What are the possible benefits?


If you decide to take part, and your relative/friend is involved in iCST, we hope that this may be of some help to them.

Previously, people participating in group CST, have reported that they have enjoyed the experience greatly.

What does it involve?

Carer 1

If you decide to take part in iCST, you and your relative will be asked to meet with a researcher for an interview, which will involve completing several questionnaires.

If you are allocated in the treatment group, you will be additionally asked to receive training, which will teach you how to deliver iCST.

If you are randomized to the treatment as usual (control) group, you and your relative will not receive any additional intervention. 

Taking part in the study does not involve any lifestyle restrictions or changes. You can carry on your everyday activities as normal whilst participating in the study.

All we ask is that you keep your appointments with us during the time that you are taking part.