Clinical tools and resources

Clinical tools and resources

National dementia guidelines

Alzheimer's Australia has partnered with government and professional organisations to develop several guidelines and recommendations (focusing on the prevention/risk reduction, diagnosis, disclosure of the diagnosis, and ongoing management of dementia) and they have been developed specifically for health professionals.

For more information 

Other relevant developed or approved guidelines:

Health and aged care professionals working with people with dementia and their carers and families should refer to the following National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines:


Delirium Clinical Care Standard

The Delirium Clinical Care Standard and accompanying resources provide guidance to consumers, clinicians and health services on delivering appropriate care to people at risk of, or with, delirium.

Published by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. Endorsed by Alzheimer's Australia.


General practice

Building Dementia Practice in Primary Care Program

The 'Building Dementia Practice in Primary Care' Practice Guide has been developed as part of a national project to promote the timely diagnosis of dementia in general practice. The guidelines support an evidence-based practice improvement approach to supporting people living with dementia, as well as their family and carers.

The guidelines are intended for general practice teams (including general practitioners and other non-clinical staff) to build skills, confidence and capacity within the clinic to support a timely diagnosis of dementia. The guidelines are a set of performance indicators that support best practice dementia care and are presented as four steps toward building dementia practice in primary care:

Step 1- Building dementia knowledge in primary practice

Background information, prevalence, building knowledge in the practice, information and health promotion, practice examples, self-assessment

Step 2 - Building towards dementia diagnosis

Case finding, screening, assessment, tools, practice examples, self-assessment

Step 3 - Building an approach to dementia support

Building an approach to dementia support, communication, driving, behaviour support, CALD backrounds, diversity, care planning, community partnerships, practice examples, and self-assessment

Step 4 - Building sustainable dementia practice

Business model, working collaboratively with the practice, nurse led strategies, exploring potential models of dementia practice (flow charts), MBS and funding dementia support, developing dementia networks, practice improvement template

PLEASE DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE RESOURCE/STARTER KIT HERE


Clinical resources for general practice

Alzheimer's Australia (VIC) tools and resources:


Dementia risk assessment:

Half of Australian adults remain unaware of the potential for dementia risk reduction. Many patients may feel that memory loss and dementia are inevitable parts of ageing. This is not the case. 

While there is no cure for dementia, an important strategy for reducing the risk of dementia is to work with patients to address modifiable risk factors.

General practitioners, general practice nurses and other primary care professionals can help their patients (with or without a family history of dementia) take proactive steps to protect their brain health and reduce their risk of developing dementia.

Patients aged 40 years and over (midlife) should routinely (as part of their 45-49 plus health check) be checked for dementia 'risk factors' for:

  • Vascular disease - hypertension, dyslipidameia, diabetes
  • Chronic disease - smoking, poor nutrition, excessive alcohol, physical inactivity, overweight/obesity
  • Psychosocial - depression, mental activity, social activity
  • Other - head injury

For more information and to download your free practical guide for general practitioners (as well as for Health and Lifestyle professionals), please go to our dementia risk reduction website health professionals' page

Also available for your patients for FREE DOWNLOAD, BrainyApp - Helping our patients live a brain healthy life.

Other recommended resources:

Risk Assessment Tool

ANU Alzheimer's Disease Risk Index (ANU-ADRI) anuadri.anu.edu.au/

Researchers at the College of Medicine, Biology and Environment at the Australian National University have developed ANU-ADRI - an evidence-based, validated tool aimed at assessing individual exposure to risk factors known to be associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in late-life, that  is, over the age of 60 years.

The ANU-ADRI is intended to provide a systematic individualised assessment and report on Alzheimer's disease risk factor exposure. It may be useful for individuals who wish to know their risk profile and areas where they can reduce their risk, as well as be useful tool for clinicians who would like their patients to record their current risk profile for discussion at their next medical appointment. The ANU-ADRI is also used in research projects that aim to evaluate methods of reducing risk of Alzheimer's disease. For more information.

Dementia and driving information kit

Health professionals have a number of important roles to play in supporting drivers with dementia and their families and carers.

These include:

  • assessing a person's fitness to drive
  • advising drivers of the impact of their medical condition
  • advising drivers of their responsibility to report their condition to their state or territory driver licensing authority
  • treating, monitoring and managing a person's condition with ongoing consideration of their fitness to drive
  • reporting to the driver licensing authority regarding fitness to drive in accordance with legal requirements, public safety and ethical considerations, and 
  • providing advice and support to drivers with the transition to stopping driving and finding ways to stay active, mobile and connected.

Useful resources

For more, please visit Health Professionals


Online video seminar series for general practice

The Online Video Seminar Series for General Practice is an online educational video series for those working in general practice. The videos each deliver high quality, independent, evidence-based, industry expertise and information about dementia in a dynamic, engaging and enjoyable way; all while adding significant benefit to day-to-day clinical practice.

Topic 1: Debunking dementia myths (presented by Associate Professor Michael Woodward)

Topic 2: Detecting dementia in general practice (presented by Victorian GP, Dr Malcolm Clarke)


For more information please contact Primary Care Engagement Officer by email:
 


On My Mind High Quality Care


Dementia and delirium in acute care

Dementia care in hospitals needs to be improved to ensure that people living with dementia, their carers and families can expect to receive care of the highest quality.

Any person going into hospital can find the experience stressful. For a person with a cognitive impairment - who may be having difficulty with their memory, thinking or communication - the  experience can be overwhelming.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care acknowledges that patients with cognitive impairment need extra care and supervision to stay safe during their hospital admission. People with dementia are more likely to experience falls, sepsis, pressure ulcers, fractures and delirium while in hospital (resulting in a five-fold increase in mortality rates).

Current national/state-based programs/initiatives

There is potential to improve the ability to identify or respond appropriately to people with dementia. Below are some examples of state-based and national programs. Essentially, the programs share common goals such as to:

  • identify and manage dementia at hospital admission and plan for discharge from the outset
     
  • involve family carers in the care and support of patients
     
  • train staff to better understand dementia and communicate more effectively with people with dementia
     
  • use alternatives, such as psychosocial interventions, to the use of antipsychotic medication and sedatives
     
  • adapt the hospital physical environment to reduce distractions and help orientate patients with dementia
     
  • reduce avoidable hospital admissions.

The Dementia Care in Hospitals Program (DCHP)
This was developed in 2004 by Ballarat Health Services, as an 'all of hospital' education program to improve communication with and awareness of patients with cognitive impairment linked to a bedside alert (called the 'Cognitive Impairment Identifier ' or 'CII').

In 2014, the Commonwealth Department of Social Services (DSS) supported a grants application for the DCHP to be further rolled out at a national level. Canberra Hospital is one of four hospitals along with hospitals in South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania to be selected as national partners with Ballarat Health Services to implement and evaluate the DCHP. For more information and updates about the Dementia Care in Hospitals Program, please visit BHS.

TOP5
The TOP5 Program is an innovative program, developed by Central Coast Local Health District in NSW that helps personalise hospital care for patients with memory and thinking problems. Top5 is an opportunity for hospital staff to discuss and acknowledge a carer's unique expertise and knowledge of the patient/client in terms of communication and behaviour, and incorporate their experience into the care being provided.  From the discussion, five strategies are identified and written onto the TOP5 form and used to address the care needs of the patient/client during their hospital admission/stay (i.e. to settle, stay calm and receive the best care possible). 

For more information got to the Health NSW website or the Medicare Media Releases website. 

The ASET Program
The emergency department based Aged Care Services in Emergency Team (ASET) in NSW offers help with screening and assessing cognitive impairment, determining care needs and planning and ensuring the person has a seamless transition between health/care facilities.  

Cognitive Care Program
Cognitive impairment including delirium or dementia are common among older people admitted to hospital but are frequently missed or misdiagnosed increasing their risk of harm. The Caring for Cognitive Impairment campaign is about improving our knowledge and care practices, providing better outcomes for patients, hospitals, staff and loved ones, and reducing the risk of harm in hospitals.
cognitivecare.gov.au

Other useful resources: