OT Clinical Services

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) Offered Virtually

Washington University Occupational Therapy is now offering virtual sessions of individual cognitive stimulation therapy (iCST) with a goal of training care partners to administer sessions at home with their loved ones with dementia.

What is cognitive stimulation therapy? Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) is an evidence-based short term intervention created for people with mild to moderate dementia. It involves group or individual therapy sessions of themed activities to improve cognitive function using techniques that exercise various cognitive skills. The program was created by researchers in the United Kingdom and is a standard of care for those with dementia in the UK. http://www.cstdementia.com/

Does it work? CST was evaluated in a multi-center randomized controlled trial (Spector et al., 2003). There were significant improvements seen in the CST group compared to the usual care control group. Improvements were seen in memory, concentration, language, verbal skills, and quality of life. Additional qualitative research has shown that people with dementia and their care partners saw changes that generalized into everyday life such as improvements in mood and confidence and changes in concentration and alertness (Spector, Gardner, Orrell, 2011).

How do I participate? We are currently enrolling participants for a virtual individual cognitive stimulation therapy program. The goal of the collaborative program is to train care partners to lead cognitive stimulation therapy sessions at home with their loved ones with dementia. The program includes 7 virtual training sessions with an Occupational Therapist who is trained in CST, a binder of resources with over 40 suggested activities, and continued support as you learn the process of doing CST at home. Learn more about our CST program.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Lisa Carson at carsonL@wustl.edu or (314) 503-2231.