Australia’s first ever set of practice guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of dementia have been developed to help fill the gaps between the provisions of good and poor quality dementia care throughout Australia.
The Clinical Practice Guidelines and Principles of Care for People with Dementia, which will be officially launched by Health Minister Sussan Ley on Wednesday March 16, advises how dementia diagnoses, treatment, patient reviews and care must be conducted.
It contains 109 recommendations wrestling with some of the more controversial aspects of dementia care, like the use of antipsychotics and clinicians telling patients that memory loss is ‘just a consequence of ageing’.
Health professionals, carers and anyone with a dementia diagnosis can use the guidelines to find out what good quality care should look like and how doctors should be treating the degenerative disease.
“These guidelines are the proof, developed by a broad range of people and medical and behavioural specialists, about what should happen in the care and treatment of someone with dementia,” says Ian Yates, CEO of senior’s advocacy group, COTA Australia.
“They provide an authoritative basis upon which you can ask questions of health professionals. And you have every right to ask questions. You should keep asking questions until you get the answers that make you feel satisfied.
“But if you are still concerned about a certain situation, and believe the guidelines are not being followed, make a complaint.”