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Title: Does attending a 'Thinking Together' group help people feel less threatened by their dementia and lead to a better quality of life?
Author: Silcox, Hayley
ISNI:       0000 0004 9350 9243
Awarding Body: University of the West of England
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2019
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Introduction: As we aspire for earlier diagnosis in people affected by dementia, the need for post-diagnostic support has grown. It is therefore important to conduct research on post-diagnostic support and provide evidence about its potential benefits. This study focuses on the ‘Thinking Together’ groups, which are post-diagnostic groups for people newly diagnosed with dementia along with their carers. The aim of this study was to evaluate these groups to see if and how they work. Method: A mixed methods approach was used involving three quantitative measures, the Threat of Dementia Scale (ToDS), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Dementia Quality Of Life Scale (DEMQOL), alongside semi-structured qualitative interviews. The participants living with dementia completed all three measures pre-group, post-group and at a follow-up eight weeks after the groups had ended. The carers completed the HADS at the same three time points. The semi-structured interviews were conducted after the groups had ended and aimed to establish participants’ experiences of the groups. The quantitative measures were analysed using a paired sample t-test and the interviews were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Anxiety and threat of dementia reduced in the people living with dementia and quality of life improved between the pre- and post- measures; these changes were maintained at follow-up. There were no significant changes found in carer’s anxiety or depression scores. The thematic analysis identified four main themes: ‘The splitting of the groups’, ‘Thinking and feeling differently’, ‘The perceived threat of a dementia diagnosis’ and ‘Group dynamics’. To summarise the qualitative findings, the splitting of the groups was found to be more beneficial to the carers than the people living with dementia. The majority of participants reported thinking and feeling differently as a result of attending the groups and enjoyed being able to share experiences, gain knowledge and find out about further support. Conclusion: The findings indicate that the Thinking Together groups work for different people in different ways. They were effective in reducing anxiety and threat of dementia in the people living with dementia, as well as improving quality of life. Whilst no significant changes were found for the carers, most of the participants reported positive experiences of having attending the groups and changes in thoughts and feelings.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Couns.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available