Dr Elisa Aguirre

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for people with co morbid dementia and depression: feasibility study in a primary care setting

Dr Elisa Aguirre is a Health Psychologist working as a clinical dementia researcher at North East London Foundation Trust. Her proposal title is Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for people with co morbid dementia and depression – a feasibility study in a primary care setting. This study builds on previous research work at University College London on mindfulness in dementia and Dr. Aguirre’s clinical work on primary care and IAPT services at North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT).

There is a lack of research in this area and therefore the aim of this study is to

1) investigate the potential feasibility and effects of an adapted MBCT for people with co morbid dementia and depression;

2) to assess the feasibility of the intervention through a single-blind, pilot RCT of and adapted MBCT versus treatment as usual (TAU) for people with mild dementia including an assessment of acceptability, compliance, recruitment and retention;

3) to conduct qualitative interviews with participants, assessing the acceptability of the treatment and examining whether changes generalised.

Dr Aguirre says, “I feel passionate about the development and evaluation of theoretical frameworks and psychosocial interventions contributing towards a transformed dementia care worldwide and have seen through my clinical work the powerful effects that mindfulness can have on improving people with dementia’s general wellbeing. Together with other colleges at UCL we are aiming to gain enough feasibility data that we can use in addition to our expertise in developing, evaluating and disseminating psychological interventions to adapt and evaluate mindfulness groups for people with mild dementia“.


Progress at April 2017

Dr Aguirre writes:

Since we received the funds we have finalized the full protocol, applied for ethics and obtained full approval for the study. We have also registered the study in the ISRCTN registry.

While we were setting up the study, I have been working with our specialized team of MBCT practitioners/clinicians at NELFT that have been developing the adapted MBCT programme for depression in dementia. We finalised this in August 2016 and it is now ready to be used and tested in the study. We are all very excited about this piece of work.

We have already recruited 12 participants for Oxleys site and we are currently running the programme there. So far it is being very successful (from anecdotal evidence from Oxleys participants). NELFT recruitment is undergoing and we are aiming to recruit a total number of 16 participants there, 8 in each group.

We are aiming to collect qualitative feedback by interviews from these groups in order to feed the development and evaluation of the intervention and update the manual. We will test the manual with the control participants after Easter next year.

Elisa is now applying for further funding as a research fellow to continue this work and take it to the next stage, and OMC will be supporting her through supervision.