Improving the lives of people living with dementia through non-pharmacological intervention

Cognitive stimulation, an approach developed by Bangor University in collaboration with UCL, has proven effective in maintaining both cognitive function and quality of life for dementia patients.

The research set out to evaluate the effectiveness of this psychological intervention for these patients, and produced evidence of comparable quality to that from pharmacological interventions. From the research, a new intervention called 'cognitive stimulation therapy' (CST) was developed, offering a standardised programme of group sessions within a person-centred framework of respect and individual choice. CST has proven effective in maintaining both cognitive function and quality of life, and is now recommended in guidelines around the world as the major evidence-based non-pharmacological intervention.

It is estimated that since 2008, CST has helped over 50,000 patients and their carers worldwide to have a better quality of life. It was also estimated by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement that extending the use of CST could save the NHS over £54.9m per annum compared with the use of anti-psychotic medicine.