Telehealth Psychotherapy for Anxiety in Persons With Cognitive Impairment (Tele-CBT)

  • days left to enroll
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    The University of Queensland
Updated on 18 June 2022


This project will pilot a tailored Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) intervention delivered via telehealth videoconferencing (Tele-CBT) to reduce anxiety in people living with cognitive impairment. A process evaluation will inform its feasibility and implementation in the community nation-wide.


Anxiety is a pre-existing mental health issue in older persons with cognitive impairment (includes people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia), with considerably high prevalence (14%) as compared to older persons in the general population (3%). Anxiety results in accelerated cognitive decline, increased aggressive behaviours, and even an increased risk of suicide. Anxiety also negatively influences quality of life (QoL) of the individual with cognitive impairment and their care partner, increases early institutionalisation, and amplifies economic burden.

The Tele-CBT package used in this study is a modification of existing manualised psychotherapeutic interventions for treatment of anxiety in people with Parkinson's disease and older adults with cognitive impairment. This new package incorporates techniques tailored to reduce anxiety in people with cognitive impairment, including symptom monitoring. The interventions will include various psychological techniques aimed at reducing anxiety and stress. The intervention consists of 6 weekly psychotherapy sessions. Each therapy session lasts between 30-60 minutes, depending on the participants' capacity to actively participate in session and on their cognitive functioning (e.g. complex attention, executive function). Support persons will be invited and instructed to actively engage in the therapy sessions as well as in between-session home tasks to support the person with cognitive impairment. These techniques will be facilitated via the use of non-immersive videos in telehealth videoconferencing.

Condition Psychotherapy, Cognitive Impairment, Anxiety
Treatment Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT05030285
SponsorThe University of Queensland
Last Modified on18 June 2022


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Inclusion Criteria

Persons with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia of any aetiology based on a previous diagnosis by a clinician or scoring above threshold (≤32; MCI ≤32 and dementia ≤27) for cognitive impairment in the Modified Telephone Interview for Cognitive Impairment (TICS-M)
Persons screening positive for anxiety (scoring ≥9 in the Geriatric Anxiety Inventory, GAI) or reports subjective complaints of anxiety

Exclusion Criteria

Persons with severe dementia
Persons who are unable to communicate or complete questionnaires
Persons who are at high risk of suicide as identified by by the University of Queensland Suicidal Risk Assessment administered at the UQ Psychology clinic which has been modified for use by the Dementia and Neuro Mental Health Research Unit
Persons who have major depression as the primary complaint without reported symptoms of anxiety
Persons on existing anxiolytics or antidepressants who have not been on a stable dose for at least 12 weeks before starting the trial and are unable to maintain the same dose for the duration of the trial. Changes to medication will be checked at each therapy and assessment session
Persons who are undergoing psychological therapy or will undergo psychological therapy over the trial duration
Entry into the study
Study entry will be determined by discussions with the core investigator team consisting of
clinicians and experienced researchers
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