Can online therapy reduce distress in dementia carers?

By Crediton Courier Newspaper in Local People

A NEW study is inviting people who care for someone with dementia to help investigate whether an online therapy can help carers cope with feeling of stress, anxiety or depression.

Researchers are looking for up to 750 carers from anywhere in the UK to sign up and assess whether an online programme called "Caring for Me and You" can effectively reduce feelings of distress in carers.

The programme is comparing three different packages that have been tailored for people who support someone with dementia - a computerised Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (cCBT) package, with or without telephone support and an online psycho-education package.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) works on the principle that our thoughts, feelings and behaviour affect one another and therefore influence the way we provide care and support.

Each package has written, audio and video information for carers to use.

The packages are 20 sessions in total and each session lasts about 20 minutes, which can be completed at a time which most suits the carer over a period of up to six months.

The research is co-led by the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and the Alzheimer’s Society.

Clive Ballard, Professor of Age-Related Diseases at the University of Exeter Medical School, is one of the lead investigators on the study, involved in the design and development of the study.

He said: “Caring for someone with dementia can be rewarding, but also be stressful and frustrating.

"It can result in anxiety or depression, both in carers and in people with dementia.

"We need to find effective ways to support carers in looking after their own needs as well as the person they care for.

“Carers have traditionally found advice sessions helpful and early evidence indicates that online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy could also help reduce distress in carers, and we now need people to sign up to our trial to find robust answers on whether rolling this out could make a real difference and improve lives.”

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.

Participants must be over 18, live in the UK, and be comfortable using a PC or Windows laptop and have an internet connection.

For more information visit: www.caringformeandyou.org.uk .

The trial is recruiting until the end of April.

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