New dementia resources designed to support health professionals working in primary health have been released this month.
Created as part of a collaboration between five Victorian Primary Health Networks – Western Victoria, North Western Melbourne, East Melbourne, Gippsland and Murray – and the Tasmanian PHN, the resources were funded by the Federal Government to provide more support to GPs to diagnose dementia, and to care for people following diagnosis.
The new resources have 3 components.
New and revised dementia HealthPathways
There are 4 up-to-date clinical pathways available to assist GPs:
- Cognitive impairment and dementia – this is the main clinical pathway outlining assessment, management and referral for people experiencing memory loss or who have been diagnosed with dementia
- Behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) – this pathway outlines assessment, management and referral related to non-cognitive symptoms of dementia such as aggression, agitation, depression, wandering and disinhibited behaviours.
- 5 minute neurological exam for patients with possible dementia – focused neurological examination suitable for a general practice setting.
- Medications for dementia – outlines use of cholinesterase inhibitors in management of certain types of dementia.
Referral pages on HealthPathways have also been updated to include information about referring to local Cognitive, Dementia and Memory Service (CDAMS) clinics for diagnosis, as well as services to assist with behaviour management, along with supports and resources such as national helplines, carer support services, respite providers and local support groups.
New dementia training – Demystifying Dementia
We are also offering a new course, Demystifying Dementia, which has been created in conjunction with Dementia Training Australia and designed, developed and facilitated by GPs for GPs, GP registrars, practice nurses, nurse practitioners and other health professionals in the primary care setting.
This tailored training package, which is delivered by Dementia Training Australia, covers:
- Reframing dementia – applying GP friendly frameworks to better understand dementia
- Dementia diagnosis demystified – a stepwise approach to diagnosing dementia in general practice
- Dementia management demystified – a stepwise approach to initiating the post-diagnostic care of dementia in general practice
Dementia brochure for patients and localised supports and resources
We have a new dementia consumer resource – Dementia: Resources and support to help you live well. It is designed for GPs and other service providers to give to people around the time of diagnosis, so they can take away and refer to over time. It includes information about all the key organisations that can help, including Dementia Australia, Carer Gateway, My Aged Care, and the NDIS. It also includes a QR code to a directory of local services and supports available in the region, which will be maintained and updated as required.
If you are interested in placing a print order for these resources, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Research undertaken by Dementia Australia found that people felt overwhelmed with information at the time of a dementia diagnosis and would like to be given hard copy resources to refer to later, when they are ready. This resource aims to fill that need and is available in the ‘information for patients’ section of dementia pathways on HealthPathways Melbourne.
Find out more about dementia support here.