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Online therapy for dementia carers to be studied

UK researchers will assess computerised Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Alzheimer's dementia

Researchers are set to investigate online therapy for people that care for someone with dementia to see if it can help them cope with feelings of stress, anxiety or depression.

The project is being co-led by the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and the Alzheimer’s Society and they’ll assess an online programme called ‘Caring for Me and You’.

Within that the team will compare three different packages - computerised Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (cCBT), with or without telephone support, and an online psycho-education package.

The packages of therapy run for a total of 20 sessions, each one of which lasts about 20 minutes, and they can be completed at a time which most suits the carer over a period of up to six months.

Dr Jane Fossey, associate director of psychological services at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have consulted carers and used the latest evidence to tailor both the therapy and the educational package to the needs of people who care for someone with dementia

“We now want to know how effective they are, and whether the online approach works to give convenience and flexibility. By signing up, carers will receive tailored online support, whilst helping us collect the evidence to create strategies that really help support carers.”

Participants will receive either CBT sessions online, or a high-quality education and information package online, with a sub group also receiving telephone support. The three arms of the study will allow researchers to analyse whether any of the three approaches makes a meaningful difference to carers.

Dr Doug Brown, director of research and development at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Even in areas where face to face therapy is available, carers tell us finding time to attend sessions or organising cover for the person with dementia can be very challenging or stressful.

“Being able to log on at home and access online therapy has the potential to transform the lives of tens of thousands of carers and help support their health and wellbeing which can often be overlooked.”

The research team is looking for carers who provide practical or emotional support to someone with dementia and are experiencing some stress or low mood.

2nd May 2017

From: Healthcare

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