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Wolfson Institute of Population Health

‘Rare positive trial result' for new support intervention for people with dementia

Research led by WIPH Professor of Psychological Medicine Claudia Cooper shows that a new therapy, NIDUS-Family, helps people with dementia and their family carers attain their personal goals. The therapy has the potential to be rolled out to support consistent, evidence-based personalised dementia care across the NHS.     


The NIDUS-family package of care and support focuses on practical changes people can make, with sessions designed around the specific priorities of the person with dementia. It can be delivered to the person with dementia and family carer together, or the family carer alone, by phone, video-call or in person. In the NIDUS-family trial involving 302 pairs of family carers and people with dementia, participants were supported to set their own goals, such as enabling the person with dementia to carry out more activities, experience better mood, sleep, appetite, relationships or social engagement, or to improve carer support and wellbeing. Those receiving the new support package met with a therapist 6-8 times in six months, with 2-4 further support phone calls over the next 6 months. 

The trial results show that people with dementia and their family carers who received the NIDUS-family intervention (whether remotely or in person) were significantly more likely to achieve the goals they set than those who received their usual care over a year. The intervention was delivered by non-clinical facilitators, who were provided with supervision and training. Only 9.3% of participants in the intervention arm v 13.3% in the control arm had moved to a care home or had died after a year. The researchers are now following up trial participants for a further year to determine whether the new support helps people with dementia stay in their own homes longer. 

Lead author, Professor Claudia Cooper said: ‘Because NIDUS-family can be delivered by people without clinical training, it has the potential to enable many more people to access good quality post-diagnostic support. NIDUS-Family is the first readily scalable intervention for people with dementia that is proven to improve attainment on personalised goals, and can be remotely delivered, and it should be implemented in health and care services.’ 

The Wolfson Institute of Population Health has a large and growing portfolio of dementia research, and hosts one of two NIHR Policy Research Units for Dementia and Neurodegenerative disease. This research was funded by the Alzheimer’s Society. 


A psychosocial goal-setting and manualised support intervention for independence in dementia (NIDUS-Family) versus goal setting and routine care: a single-masked, phase 3, superiority, randomised controlled trial. Claudia Cooper, Victoria Vickerstaff, Julie Barber, Rosemary Phillips, Margaret Ogden, Kate Walters, Iain Lang, Penny Rapaport, Vasiliki Orgeta, Kenneth Rockwood, Sara Banks, Marina Palomo, Laurie T Butler, Kathyrn Lord, Gill Livingston, Sube Banerjee, Jill Manthorpe, Briony Dow, Juanita Hoe, Rachael Hunter, Quincy Samus, Jessica Budgett. Lancet Healthy Longev 2024.



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