Background: Preliminary evidence suggests that goal-oriented cognitive rehabilitation (CR) may be a clinically effective intervention for people with early-stage Alzheimer's disease, vascular or mixed dementia and their carers. This study aims to establish whether CR is a clinically effective and cost-effective intervention for people with early-stage dementia and their carers.
Methods/design: In this multi-centre, single-blind randomised controlled trial, 480 people with early-stage dementia, each with a carer, will be randomised to receive either treatment as usual or cognitive rehabilitation (10 therapy sessions over 3 months, followed by 4 maintenance sessions over 6 months). We will compare the effectiveness of cognitive rehabilitation with that of treatment as usual with regard to improving self-reported and carer-rated goal performance in areas identified as causing concern by people with early-stage dementia; improving quality of life, self-efficacy, mood and cognition of people with early-stage dementia; and reducing stress levels and ameliorating quality of life for carers of participants with early-stage dementia. The incremental cost-effectiveness of goal-oriented cognitive rehabilitation compared to treatment as usual will also be examined.
Discussion: If the study confirms the benefits and cost-effectiveness of cognitive rehabilitation, it will be important to examine how the goal-oriented cognitive rehabilitation approach can most effectively be integrated into routine health-care provision. Our aim is to provide training and develop materials to support the implementation of this approach following trial completion.