Online Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for family carers of people with dementia: A feasibility study of a new mode of delivery

Study Code / Acronym
Award Number
Research for Patient Benefit
Status / Stage
2 September 2019 -
1 September 2021
Duration (calculated)
01 years 11 months
Funding Amount
Funder/Grant study page
Contracted Centre
Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
Contracted Centre Webpage
Principal Investigator
Dr Naoko Kishita
PI Contact
WHO Catergories
Development of novel therapies
Models across the continuum of care
Tools and methodologies for interventions
Disease Type
Dementia (Unspecified)

CPEC Review Info
Reference ID149
ResearcherReside Team


Study Code / AcronymiACT4CARERS
Award NumberPB-PG-0418-20001
Status / StageCompleted
Start Date20190902
End Date20210901
Duration (calculated) 01 years 11 months
Funder/Grant study pageNIHR
Contracted CentreNorfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
Contracted Centre Webpage
Funding Amount£232,622.00


Anxiety and depression are highly prevalent in family carers of people with dementia. If carers are distressed not only is their health at risk, but the quality of their care is also likely to be impacted. Despite the risk of negative consequences, family carers are currently under-provided for by NHS psychological services due to a number of barriers (e.g., reduced mobility and limited availability of skilled therapists). One way to address the challenges of treatment accessibility, and also scalability, is to design a service that can be delivered remotely. Recent studies demonstrated that whilst online conventional Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) commonly used in psychological services can improve depression and anxiety in the general population, it may not be equally efficacious in family carers of people with dementia. For this reason, this project will use an acceptance-based form of psychotherapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which is considered to be particularly beneficial for this population and transform it into an online mode of delivery. Work with PPI members suggests an online approach of combining online ACT with three face-to-face group sessions may have utility. Aims and objectives The objectives are to: (1) transform face-to-face ACT for family carers of people with dementia to an online mode of delivery (online self-help ACT + face-to-face groups in person or via videoconferencing); (2) refine online ACT with our PPI group in order to ensure it meets the needs of carers; (3) undertake an uncontrolled feasibility study to examine the feasibility and acceptability of online ACT; (4) estimate study parameters for a future effectiveness randomised controlled trial (RCT); and (5) further revise online ACT based on carers and therapists feedback (if necessary). Methods We will generate a written protocol and audio/video materials to enable face-to-face ACT for family carers of people with dementia to be delivered in an online format. The initial prototype of online ACT will be reviewed by our PPI group (carers) for further refinement. Thirty family carers of people with dementia experiencing mild-to-moderate depression or anxiety will be recruited across three NHS mental health trusts to take part in an uncontrolled feasibility study. Timelines for delivery Months 1-12: Develop the written treatment protocol and videos/audio materials; pilot the initial prototype with the PPI group; finalise online contents; develop training course and train non-expert therapists for group sessions. Months 13-24: Recruit participants; deliver online ACT; collect data; analyse and write up the results; revise online ACT; organise dissemination event. Anticipated impact and dissemination An end of study dissemination event will be hosted with collaborating trusts and charities involving PPI members in its delivery. The successful completion of a full-scale effectiveness RCT (future project) following this feasibility study could result in immediate impacts which include: (1) the provision of a new proven evidence-based online intervention for family carers of people with dementia; (2) improved clinical outcomes in family carers; and (3) improved quality of care provided to care recipients. This feasibility study will be a crucial step for a future effectiveness RCT.


This project will convert face-to-face delivered “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy” (ACT) for family carers of people with dementia to an online mode of delivery combined with three face-to-face group sessions. We will then find out what works and does not work when using ACT in this new way so that we can carry out a full research trial in the future.