The Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre has launched a new evidence-based guide to help primary healthcare professionals provide advice and support on dementia.
People with dementia: A care guide for general practice aims to assist doctors, nurses, allied health and pharmacy professionals working in primary care to provide the best ongoing care for a person with dementia.
The guide, which was written in collaboration with GPs, primary care nurses, psychologists, and area specialists, was launched at the Australasian Association on Gerontology Conference in Sydney on Thursday.
It addresses six priority topics that professionals working in general practice are likely to encounter when providing care for a person with a dementia diagnosis, said Professor Dimity Pond from University of Newcastle.
“Primary care is the place where people with dementia connect with the health service for most of the rest of their trajectory, which is many years,” Professor Pond told Australian Ageing Ageing at the conference.
The resource aims to provide accessible information for busy primary care practitioners with flowcharts included to illustrate the pathway of care, she said.
“This guide among other things is looking at ongoing management. We look at how to talk to someone with dementia. We look at talking with the carers and supporting them and what services there are.”
The guide also includes an important chapter on dementia prevention by Professor Kaarin Anstey from Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), she said.
The guide is split into the following topics:
- Communicating: Diagnosis & Consultations for People with Dementia
- Caring for People with Dementia Experiencing Behavioural & Psychological Symptoms
- Elder Abuse: Identification and Screening
- Dementia in People with Intellectual Disability
- Dementia Prevention
- Supporting Carers of People with Dementia.
Professor Pond said the guide offered important help for general practice professionals to communicate with people with dementia and to listen to their story.
“It is all about patient education. When you get a diagnosis of dementia it doesn’t mean that you can’t understand anything that is said to you.
“It is about keeping your language simple and not putting too many concepts into a sentence. One concept at a time. It is about listening to the person and checking they understand what you said.”
The guide is funded by the NHMRC Partnership Centre for Dealing with Cognitive and Related Functional Decline in Older People (CDPC) at the University of Sydney and the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI).
Access and online version of the guide here.
The AAG conference took place at the International Convention Centre Sydney on 5 – 8 November. Find out more here.
Australian Ageing Agenda is a media partner of the AAG.
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