Healthcare experts have called for urgent collaboration in diagnosis and care for people with dementia. The call came from a roundtable discussion of healthcare professionals at the recent Aged and Community Services Australia Conference in Melbourne.

It follows the release of a report at the conference from Alzheimer’s Australia, ‘Collaborating for a better future for Australians living with Alzheimer’s disease.’

The report is intended to provide valuable input to the development of a new national action framework on dementia by Australian health ministers, said Alzheimer’s Australia national president, Ita Buttrose.

Part of this national approach could include a national dementia registry to ensure that patients and carers do not “fall through the cracks,” said Professor Henry Brodaty, director of the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre at the University of NSW, who chaired the roundtable panel.

He added that as well as an ageing population, the lack of specialist dementia and aged care professionals will pose significant challenges to society.

Key recommendations from the report include:

  •  The adoption of a national best-practice, multi-disciplinary approach for the diagnosis, treatment and care of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in Australia
  • A critical need to build a dementia workforce to meet the growing need for specialised care
  • Funding of a national program of key workers for people with dementia that provide one-on-one support from the point of diagnosis onwards
  • Ongoing investment in dementia research
  • Destigmatisation of dementia and recognition that the experience of dementia is unique to each person

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