International Psychogeriatrics

Research Article

Staff training using STAR: a pilot study in UK care homes

Judith Goydera1 c1, Martin Orrella2a3, Jennifer Wenborna2 and Aimee Spectora1

a1 Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, London, UK

a2 UCL Mental Health Sciences Unit, University College London, London, UK

a3 Research and Development Department, North East London NHS Foundation Trust, Ilford, UK


Background: Symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and behavioral problems are very common in people with dementia living in care homes. Staff training has been identifed as a promising psychosocial intervention. This pilot study investigated the feasibility of implementing the Staff Training in Assisted Living Residences (STAR) program in UK care homes.

Methods: The eight-week STAR program was delivered in two care homes. Twenty-five care staff attended the training. Thirty-two residents, with dementia and clinically significant anxiety, depression, or behavioral problems, were included in the study. Residents and staff were assessed at baseline and eight-week follow-up.

Results: Residents demonstrated significantly reduced symptoms of depression and behavioral problems following the implementation of the program, although resident-rated quality of life and anxiety symptoms did not improve significantly. Staff sense of hopefulness towards people with dementia also improved significantly and staff rated themselves as significantly more competent at forming relationships with residents.

Conclusion: Delivering the STAR program to care staff can have an impact on the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia displayed by care home residents. The program was feasible to implement and was rated highly by care staff. A large-scale randomized controlled trial is now required to evaluate the effectiveness of this training intervention.

(Received October 14 2011)

(Revised October 25 2011)

(Revised October 31 2011)

(Accepted November 01 2011)

(Online publication January 04 2012)


c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: Dr. Judith Goyder, Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT. Phone: +447810 112147 Email: