Navigation

Shared learning database

Type and Title of Submission


Title:

Psychotherapy Service Provision for Carers of People with Dementia

Description:

Carers of people with dementia often experience their own feelings loss and emotional pain (McCurry, 2008; Meisen 2006, Woods, Wills, Higginson, Hobbins, & Whitby, 2003) while providing full-time care to the person with dementia who has complex and changing needs, which can result in major depression and anxiety, increasing the possibility of referral to mental health services. Treating carers distress is vital not only for their mental health but to enable them to continue in their caring role, without which the current care system would collapse. Our service is meeting this need by providing psychological therapy services to carers of people with dementia of all ages where needed within the Mental Health Care of Older People's service in Newham. We have found that Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) is an effective and flexible therapy for this purpose.

Category:

2010-11 Shared Learning examples

Does the submission relate to the general implementation of all NICE guidance?

No

Does the submission relate to the implementation of a specific piece of NICE guidance?

Yes

Full title of NICE guidance:

CG42 - Dementia

Category(s) that most closely reflects the nature of the submission:

Is the submission industry-sponsored in any way?

No


Description of submission


Aim

To address the psychological needs of carers of people with dementia. Caregivers often report feeling very alone and left to cope with a wide range feelings associated with grief and their changing role within the relationship (Mc Curry 2008). The contribution that family carers make to support people with dementia has been more acknowledged in recent years (NICE, 2007; Woods, 2008) as has the potential costs to carers in terms of increased risk of psychological distress (Brodaty and Green 2000; Donaldson, Tarrier & Burns, 1998; Williamson & Schultz, 1993), physical health problems, and increased mortality (Schultz & Williamson, 1991). The NICE-SCIE (2007) guidelines on supporting people with dementia recommend that carers have access to a range of psychological therapies (NICE-SCIE, 2007). The Alzheimer's Society supports this and the Carers' Strategy commits to invest in developing these therapies, emphasizing that they must be accessible and convenient to carers of people with dementia (Alzheimer's society, 2007). However, models of good practice and specialist service delivery appear patchy. Our service is working to meet this need by providing psychotherapy to carers of all ages where needed (in addition to running carer's groups) within the Mental Health Care of Older People's service.

Objectives

Within the borough there are no Admiral Nurses, whose role is to focus on the needs of carers of people with dementia. The PTOA (Psychotherapy for Older Adults) is a specialist psychotherapy service set up by clinical psychologists within the Mental Health Care of Older People's service in Newham. As a specialist service in therapy and dementia we are well placed to address carer's psychological needs and to facilitate their understanding of dementia. We have found that Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) lends itself as a flexible therapeutic model for this work, having been developed within the NHS as a time-limited model of psychotherapy with an explicit focus on problems in relationships within the social context. Our experience and initial analysis offers preliminary support for the value of a CAT approach to working psychotherapeutically with carers of people with dementia.

Context

The psychological needs of carers of people with dementia are increasingly being recognised across agencies. Carers of people with dementia face an unpredictable and complex illness and services often lack cohesion and fail to recognise their mental health needs, increasing the possibility that they will develop mental health problems. The Newham PTOA is made up of clinical psychologists with expertise in both dementia and psychotherapy and so is well placed to meet this need by providing psychotherapeutic interventions to carers.

Methods

Central to providing a responsive therapeutic service for carers is the joint working of the PTOA clinical psychologists into and with the following teams 1) the Diagnostic Memory Clinic multidisciplinary team (DMC), and 2) the Dementia Care Team. This helps to establish a relatively' seamless relationship with families and good joint working with the other professionals in the teams where carer's mental health can be assessed and provided for at various points along the dementia journey. Within the borough anyone with a formal diagnosis of dementia will generally have been seen by the Memory Clinic or Old Age Psychiatrists and will therefore be known to the service. We are also fortunate to have a close relationship with the manager of the local branch of Alzheimer?s society, ensuring good links between the PTOA and voluntary sector.

Results and evaluation

Whilst a range of therapeutic approaches are practised in the PTOA Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) has been a particularly useful and adaptive psychotherapeutic model when working with carers. Outcome measures indicate the benefits of this intervention. The model helps to make sense of how the caring role can trigger unhelpful coping patterns in the carer, which can be linked to early experiences as well as the wider social and cultural environment, (Ryle and Kerr, 2002), while also keeping the person with dementia in mind. All interventions are measured with standardised tools including the HADS (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Zigmond & Snaith, 1983) and the GHQ-12 (General Health Questionnaire, Goldberg, 1988) and more recently the CORE (Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation). This work has been written up and accepted for publication in the British Journal of Psychotherapy.

Key learning points

Our experience and initial analysis offers preliminary support for the value of a CAT approach to working psychotherapeutically with carers of people with dementia. Further research and thought about service delivery for meeting the mental health needs of carers is required.

Contact Details

Name:Dr. Michelle Hamill
Job Title:Clinical Psychologist
Organisation:East London NHS Foundation Trust
Address:Psychology of Older Adults, 1st floor, Shrewsbury Health Centre, Shrewsbury road,
Town:London
County:England
Postcode:E7 8QR
Phone:0208 5865021
Email:michelle.hamill@eastlondon.nhs.uk

 

NICE handles personal information provided to the Institute in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. Find further details in our data protection policy.

This page was last updated: 31 January 2011

Accessibility | Cymraeg | Freedom of information | Vision Impaired | Contact Us | Glossary | Data protection | Copyright | Disclaimer | Terms and conditions

Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.

Selected, reliable information for health and social care in one place

Accessibility | Cymraeg | Freedom of information | Vision Impaired | Contact Us | Glossary | Data protection | Copyright | Disclaimer | Terms and conditions

Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.

Accessibility | Cymraeg | Freedom of information | Vision Impaired | Contact Us | Glossary | Data protection | Copyright | Disclaimer | Terms and conditions

Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.