Group cognitive behavioural therapy for stroke survivors with depression and their carers

Ward, SK, Turner, A, Hambridge, JA, Halpin, SA, Valentine, M, Sweetapple, A, White, J and Hackett, Maree orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-1211-9087 (2016) Group cognitive behavioural therapy for stroke survivors with depression and their carers. Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation, 23 (5). pp. 358-365. ISSN 1074-9357

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Background: Depression in stroke survivors is common, leads to poorer outcomes and often not treated. A group cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) program (Brainstorm) for stroke survivors with depression, and their carers has been running as part of usual care since 2007.

Objective: To evaluate the implementation and acceptability of Brainstorm, a closed group intervention consisting of up to 10 sessions of education, activity planning, problem solving and thought challenging.

Methods: Participating stroke survivors and their carers complete assessment measures at baseline, post-treatment and 1-month and 6-months follow-up. A mixed models for repeated measures data was conducted with depression and anxiety scores for stroke survivors (Beck Depression Inventory-II; Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) and the assessment of depression, anxiety and carer burden for carers. Acceptability was assessed by session attendance and written and open participant feedback upon completion of the program.

Results: Forty-eight community dwelling stroke survivors and 34 carers attended Brainstorm, with a median attendance of 88% of sessions. Follow-up assessments were completed by 77% (post-treatment), 46% (1-month) and 38% (6-month) of stroke survivors. Stroke survivors’ depression scores decreased from baseline to post-treatment (p<.001); maintained at 1-month (p<.001) but not at 6-month (p=.056). Anxiety scores decreased between baseline and 1-month (p=.013). Carer burden, depression and anxiety scores at 1-month and 6-month follow-up, for carers, were all reduced when compared with baseline (p<.05).

Conclusion: The Brainstorm group intervention for depression in stroke survivors appears to have been effectively implemented and is acceptable to stroke survivors and carers.

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