Cognitive Stimulation Therapy for people with dementia

Two members of Staywell's Raleigh House team are now qualified to deliver group Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) for people in the early stages of dementia.

Beverly Orris and Kimberley Brice returned from their CST training brimming with enthusiasm.

'I walked away very confident and excited to start therapy groups at the centre,' said Kimberley. 'The CST training will help me and the team to actively stimulate and engage with people, and provide learning and social benefits for our clients.'

Beverly agreed: 'I was keen to learn more about psychosocial approaches for dementia, and I can see many ways in which this training will be valuable during our working day, as well as enabling us to deliver group CST.'


CST is an evidence-based group treatment, which involves 14 or more sessions of stimulating, themed activities, based around principles including learning theory and person-centred care. CST can be extended into a longer-term treatment and can be offered to a range of clients. 

NICE guidelines (1.4.2) recommend offering group CST to people living with mild to moderate dementia. Currently there is no CST group in south-west London.

Staywell was supported in its decision to invest in this staff training by Chair of our Trustee Board, Dr Debbie Stinson, a Consultant Psychiatrist in Older People’s Mental Health Services who works in the memory assessment service of a neighbouring borough.

She commented: 'In terms of interventions to promote cognition, independence and well-being in dementia, CST is one where there is most evidence of both clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness. Yet availability has been very limited. Local CST provision is a very positive step and a real breakthrough for people with living with dementia.'

Beverly and Kimberley are now planning their first CST course, to be offered to a group of current Raleigh House clients.

Over the last few years, 35 Staywell staff and volunteers have successfully completed training through Stirling University’s Dementia Services Development Centre - an institution which is internationally recognised for its work in this field. The innovative Best Practice in Dementia Care course is accredited by the Royal College of Nursing, City & Guilds and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework.

Cathy Weight, Development Manager for day and outreach services said: 'This initiative builds on our learning and experience through working with increasing numbers of people living with dementia over the last ten years. We see how people are looking for real support so that they can carry on living independent lives for as long as possible, and still enjoy a good quality of life.'

Staywell hopes to be able to secure funding to provide the therapy more widely going forward.

Find out more about Staywell's services for people living with dementia, and their families/informal carers.

More about Cognitive Stimulation Therapy