Aging & Mental Health, 2024

Caregiver experience of the Norwegian manual for individual cognitive stimulation therapy (iCST): a qualitative study

Objectives: This research project investigated how family carers in Norway experienced delivering iCST, their need for supervision and the potential for co-occupation.

Methods: Reflexive thematic analysis was used to understand the experiences of 11 carers using iCST for 8 wk. Three semi-structured interviews were conducted with each participant, including a pre-assessment of caregiver burden and a rating of dementia severity.

Results: Most carers described the manual as self-instructive. Some felt overwhelmed when starting iCST. It was important to plan and individualise the sessions to the specific needs of the person with dementia. After delivering iCST the carers described new insights into the person with dementia’s resources and challenges. Obstacles to doing iCST were related to the context, the manual or to specific challenges linked to the person with dementia or to the carer. Most participants described positive experiences, in which shared interaction, engagement and mastery were common.

Conclusion: When the carer understands the iCST programme as a tool and adapts it to the specific needs of the person with dementia then co-occupation and positive interactions happen. However, some carers would benefit from supervision and the iCST programme did not address all persons with dementia.


Kristine G. Madsø, Rita Weum & Torhild Holthe

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