Making a Difference – An Evidenced Based Group Programme to Offer Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) to People with Dementia: The Manual for Group Leaders
Aimee Spector, Lene Thorgrimsen, Bob Woods & Martin Orrell,
STAR RATING: 4/5
This short and simple manual aims to improve the cognitive functioning and quality of life of people with dementia, writes Amy Tennant.
The group sessions are designed to be enjoyable and stimulating drawing on music, props, newspaper articles and games to engage the senses. There is a structured format with repetitive elements intended to reinforce memory and group adhesion.
The manual asserts it is as effective as medication in improving the lives of those with dementia. The measure of this may seem modest it doesn’t claim to reverse the long term effects of dementia. But the emphasis on boosting the person-centred approach to care is very important.
A trained therapist is not required to run the groups and there is a danger that the material may be presented in a way that is patronising or distressing for those involved. But the objective is widespread use of the programme in everyday settings, so the delivery by untrained staff is the best way forward.
This user-friendly manual – with space for making notes, photo-copiable exercises and good guidance throughout – should help to improve the quality of activities provided in dementia care settings. Rather than activities being half-hearted afterthoughts in care provision, as can be the case, they should come to be seen as central to good dementia care.
Amy Tennant is a social worker in an adult care team at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital