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Cognitive rehabilitation for early stage Alzheimer’s disease: a pilot study with an Irish population

  • M. E. Kelly (a1), B. A. Lawlor (a2), R. F. Coen (a3), I. H. Robertson (a2) and S. Brennan (a2)...



Research shows that cognitive rehabilitation (CR) has the potential to improve goal performance and enhance well-being for people with early stage Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This single subject, multiple baseline design (MBD) research investigated the clinical efficacy of an 8-week individualised CR intervention for individuals with early stage AD.


Three participants with early stage AD were recruited to take part in the study. The intervention consisted of eight sessions of 60–90 minutes of CR. Outcomes included goal performance and satisfaction, quality of life, cognitive and everyday functioning, mood, and memory self-efficacy for participants with AD; and carer burden, general mental health, quality of life, and mood of carers.


Visual analysis of MBD data demonstrated a functional relationship between CR and improvements in participants’ goal performance. Subjective ratings of goal performance and satisfaction increased from baseline to post-test for three participants and were maintained at follow-up for two. Baseline to post-test quality of life scores improved for three participants, whereas cognitive function and memory self-efficacy scores improved for two.


Our findings demonstrate that CR can improve goal performance, and is a socially acceptable intervention that can be implemented by practitioners with assistance from carers between sessions. This study represents one of the promising first step towards filling a practice gap in this area. Further research and randomised-controlled trials are required.


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: M. E. Kelly, Department of Psychology, Room SF21, 2nd Floor John Hume Building, North Campus, Maynooth University, Co. Kildare, Ireland (Email:


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Cognitive rehabilitation for early stage Alzheimer’s disease: a pilot study with an Irish population

  • M. E. Kelly (a1), B. A. Lawlor (a2), R. F. Coen (a3), I. H. Robertson (a2) and S. Brennan (a2)...


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