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Quality dementia care - what do we value?

This year, in recognition of World Alzheimer’s Day, the Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation, with the support of Alzheimer’s Australia and KinCare, organised a dementia research panel discussion titled Quality dementia care – what do we value?

Presented by Dr Norman Swan, ABC Radio National's Health Report host, the panellists included:

  • Mr Trevor Crosby, Alzheimer's Australia Dementia Advisory Committee Member.
  • Dr Ron Petersen, Director, Mayo Alzheimer's Disease Research Centre and the Mayo Clinic Study on Aging.
  • Professor Susan Kurrle, Geriatrician and Director, Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre.
  • Professor Elizabeth Beattie, Director Dementia Collaborative Research Centre – Carers and Consumers.
  • Ms Therese Adami, Chief Operating Officer, KinCare.
  • Ms Maree McCabe, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Alzheimer's Australia National.

There was much discussion, from both the panellists and the audience, on meeting the care needs of people living with a diagnosis of dementia and their carers, how we can measure the quality of dementia care and work towards a national set of quality indicators and, importantly, ways that we may improve the quality of dementia care now and into the future.

When it comes to quality in dementia care, Trevor Crosby expects a level of care that values his autonomy. For now, Trevor’s taking life “one golf game at a time,” but fears that as his diagnosis of dementia progresses, that autonomy will be gradually taken away from him. Trevor’s wife Jill has taken on much of the caring role following his diagnosis of early onset Lewy Body disease 18 months ago. Trevor said:

“We stuck together and worked something out, we’ll take the matter into our own hands, develop strategies that would work to lift and maintain quality of life.”

Involving people living with a diagnosis of dementia and their family and carers in research was an important step to improving the quality of dementia care. Professor Susan Kurrle said the Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre was fortunate to start with the consumers through the partnership with Alzheimer’s Australia:

“Consumers were telling us what they wanted to know, it’s been a real eye-opener and not always what the researchers wanted but if you don’t start with the end users you can’t get your research into practice.”

READ – A fantastic summary article has been publised in the December 2016 Edition of Dementia News, which you can read here.

WATCH – If you were unable to attend the event, the discussion may be viewed below by simply pressing play. The recording may also be viewed through the Alzheimer's Australia YouTube page by clicking here.

 

We are very grateful to our panellists, Alzheimer’s Australia, Kincare and the National Library of Australia for their support and for helping the AADRF promote further awareness of this very important topic.

Sources: 

READ: Dementia News, December 2016 edition: https://www.fightdementia.org.au/dementia-news/issue-06/quality-dementia-care

WATCH: Alzheimer's Australia YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngS_SvTWZww

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