Study trials sleep strategies to help carers and people with dementia

A new study is underway to help improve sleeping patterns for people living with dementia and their relatives.

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is behind the new psychological intervention. The Trust provides specialist mental health and learning disability services across the south east, and has a one of the most research-active mental health Trusts in England, focusing on dementia, young people, psychosis, brain and body, mood and anxiety, learning disability, personality, emergency and complex care, and approaches to involvement and recovery.

Experts want to see if people who receive DREAMS START (Dementia Related Manual for Sleep: Strategies for Relatives) have better outcomes than people who receive usual care without DREAMS START.

People will be randomly allocated by a computer into either the therapy group or treatment as usual group. Both groups will receive follow ups to see how their sleep is after four months and eight months of entering into the study.

Professor Naji Tabet, who leads Dementia and Memory Research at Sussex Partnership, said:

"Caring for someone with dementia can be exhausting as sleep for the person with dementia and also the carer can be disrupted.

"This study will first of all help us understand how much sleep people living with dementia, and their families, are currently getting, and will also give us the opportunity to help those who need it. If these strategies prove to be effective they can be rolled out more widely. 

"We would like to invite family or friends who support someone living with dementia to get in touch to find out more."

Participants in the therapy will receive one-to-one therapy sessions over six to eight weeks tailored to the individual's sleep problems. If the DREAMS START intervention proves effective, it will be rolled out in NHS settings which means it will be accessible to everyone with sleep difficulties.

Participants can take part at home or take part remotely. To sign up to register your interest for the study, please visit https://news.joindementiaresearch.nihr.ac.uk/dementia-and-sleep/

More information can be found here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/psychiatry/research/mental-health-older-people/dreams-start

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