The PATHFINDER Trial

Evaluating the effectiveness of Problem Adaptation Therapy (PATH)

What is this study about?

A new form of talking therapy for people with dementia and depression. PATH was developed and tested in the USA, and we are carrying out research to find out if it can be used in the NHS to improve depression in people with dementia. The research is important because antidepressant drugs and more commonly used talking therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (or CBT) have not been shown to be effective in improving depression in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

PATH is based on a problem solving approach. It aims to help people and their carers to find ways that they can change their environment and activities so that they can enjoy a more positive state of mood. The study is being conducted around the UK to evaluate the effectiveness of the PATH therapy delivered in NHS settings

Who can take part?

People over 50 years old living at home who have:

  • A diagnosis of probable Alzheimer’s disease or mixed Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia
  • Symptoms of depression and low mood,
  • An identified family caregiver who is willing to attend treatment sessions as a co-therapist and provide support to the person with dementia between sessions.
What is involved?

This is a Randomised Controlled Trial, therefore, 50% of people taking part will receive ten sessions of PATH therapy and 50% of people will continue with their usual clinical treatment.

Everyone taking part will be contacted by a researcher from the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Trust to complete questionnaires at scheduled times over 12 months. In the present circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the research questionnaires and therapy can be delivered via video conferencing or telephone.

How to get involved?

Please contact Holly Taylor by email at hollytaylor2@nhs.net or call 0113 85 58307 for a chat about the research.