Dementia care in the community

A new resource for healthcare professionals to provide advice and support.

Most people in Australia will first report symptoms of dementia to a family doctor or general practitioner, yet there is little training of health professionals in dementia diagnosis and management of care. The complexity around what a diagnosis of dementia means for the person and their family requires a balanced and informed approach.

A new resource for use in general practice titled “People with dementia: A care guide for general practice” assists with making decisions about how to provide the best care for a person with dementia. The guide addresses six priority topics that a GP or primary care worker is likely to encounter when providing care for a person with a dementia diagnosis.

Professor Dimity Pond at the University of Newcastle, in collaboration with Professor Kaarin Anstey and Dr Ruth Peters from NeuRA at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Dr Liz Evans and Professor Julian Trollor from the Department of Developmental Disability Neuropsychiatry (3DN) at UNSW, recognised the need for an accessible dementia care guide for general practice, that was based on the latest research evidence.

“GPs and the primary care team more broadly need this guide because there is a lack of guidance for primary care on how to manage dementia,” says Professor Pond.

“This resource has been written by a team that includes GPs, primary care nurses, psychologists, a neuropsychiatrist and a researcher with expertise in multidisciplinary teamwork, as well as subspecialists in the topics covered.

It will provide information that is grounded and accessible for busy primary care practitioners, with flowcharts included to illustrate the pathway of care”

The topics covered in the guide include

  • Communicating: Diagnosis & Consultations for People with Dementia
  • Caring for People with Dementia Experiencing Behavioural & Psychological Symptoms
  • Elder Abuse: Identification and Screening
  • Dementia in People with Intellectual Disability
  • Dementia Prevention
  • Supporting Carers of People with Dementia.

Joan Jackman, who cared for her husband with dementia and was involved in the development of the guide believes confidence in your GP to support you through an accurate diagnosis and appropriate care is essential for both the person experiencing the changes and for the person who shares their life.

“This resource for GPs supports an informed, relevant and responsive approach to diagnosis and care for those people impacted by dementia.”

It is a welcome addition to supporting the important front-line role of GPs, for people needing guidance and support when this condition becomes part of their lives.”

“People with dementia: A care guide for general practice” was released at the Australasian Association on Gerontology on Thursday 7 November 2019 and is funded by the NHMRC Partnership Centre for Dealing with Cognitive and Related Functional Decline in Older People (CDPC) at the University of Sydney ( and the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI).