Dementia prevention, diagnosis and care shared at ADI

group shot in front of poster

The 33rd Conference of Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI), held in Chicago from July 26-29, brought together researchers, scientists, clinicians, consumer volunteers and dementia care professionals.

CDPC researchers shared their research on acute and palliative care, models of residential aged care, polypharmacy and the benefits of reablement exercise programs for people with cognitive decline, with oral presentations and posters.

ADI offered a strong platform for consumers involved in dementia research to share their experiences. Tara Quirk spoke about her experience working on a CDPC deprescribing guidelines project and Dr Jane Thompson, who collaborated on the CDPC clinical guidelines project, spoke about the CDPC research model more generally.

Tara Quirke’s presentation, “How Can Researchers and Consumers Work Together to Achieve Positive Outcomes through a Research Program to Optimize Medication Use in People with Dementia?” outlined the importance of involving people with lived experience of dementia in research.

“Consumers need to be involved from the beginning, not as tokenism. Potentially the research then has more relevance and increased translation into practice,” she said.

At the session on consumer experience Dr Jane Thompson presented on the topic, “The NHMRC Partnership Centre for Dealing with Cognitive and Related Functional Decline in Older People: An Australian Model for Public Involvement in Dementia Research."

Dr Thompson outlined the benefits of the research model of the CDPC that involves consumer advocates in research as part of its person-centred approach to research and her involvement in the research to produce the CDPC clinical and consumer guidelines for dementia.

“In Australia we are at early stages in terms of the practical application of the principles of public involvement in research compared with the UK where the organisation INVOLVE provides leadership and guidance,” she said.

At the Acute and Palliative Care session, CDPC Director, Professor Sue Kurrle spoke on her experience as a geriatrician in caring for patients with cognitive impairment in the acute hospital setting and initiatives to change the ward environment to improve care.

Dr Kurrle outlined the Care of Confused Hospitalised Older Persons (CHOPs) body of research that resulted in a website with resources for carers, doctors and nursing staff to improve the acute ward environment.

“CHOPs was rolled out in 12 hospitals successfully using the principles developed. Some changes such as ward layout, lighting, appropriate chairs and signage are simple and easy,” she said.

At the Care in Dementia plenary Senior Director Ms Susan Ryan spoke about the Greenhouse Project and advocacy to promote the "greenhouse" model of care that provides has a home-like feeling, private rooms and bathrooms, family-like common spaces with numbers limited to 10-12.

In Australia this model of residential aged care is called the home-like or clustered model of care. CDPC researcher, Dr Suzanne Dyer, was one of a team of CDPC researchers who conducted a study with findings released in June this year (Activity 1).

Dr Dyer presented her study, "Clustered ‘Homelike’ Models of Residential Aged Care Are Associated with Fewer Hospitalisations, Better Quality of Life and Similar Costs: An Australian Cross-Sectional Study" in the Models of Care session.

“The study showed clustered domestic models of residential care are associated with better quality of life and fewer hospitalisations with no increment in whole of system costs,” Dr Dyer said.

Dr Morag Taylor, a CDPC researcher and NHMRC-ARC Dementia Fellow, presented at the Prevention session on how executive dysfunction and physical inactivity influence physical decline in older adults across the cognitive spectrum.

Dr Taylor’s research with the CDPC developed an algorithm for falls measurement and conducted a study on an exercise intervention program for people with dementia that achieved a reduced number of falls and improved balance for the participants.

Dr Emily Reeve’s presentation, “Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline for Deprescribing Cholinesterase Inhibitors and Memantine in People with Dementia”, outlined the guidelines that provide practical assistance to health professionals in deprescribing.

In producing the guidelines Dr Reeve, a CDPC researcher and NHMRC-ARC Research Fellow and also a pharmacist, said, “We were guided by what provides the greatest potential for benefit and the least for harm".

Australian virtual reality program applauded
CEO of Dementia Australia Maree McCabe, showed a video demonstrating the virtual reality dementia training program. This was met with great excitement in the plenary, Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Ms McCabe outlined how virtual reality is and can change dementia care and training in Australia.

Presenters who collaborate with CDPC (not listed above)
Dr Irja Haapala from Melbourne University, presented at the Awareness and Stigma session on Dementia perspectives and priorities amongst people with dementia, family carers and service professionals and their implications for public health campaigning.
Ashley Culley from Griffith University presented on, Consumer Experience and Nutrition - A Visual Journey through the Australian Healthcare System As Experienced By People Living with Dementia and Their Carers

Clinical and consumer guidelines for dementia
Deprescribing guidelines
Care of Confused Hospitalised Older Persons (CHOPs)
CDPC research model poster
The US Greenhouse Project
The Australian CDPC Models of Care project
Dementia Australia virtual dementia experience
Deprescribing guidelines

Sue Kurrle

Professor Sue Kurrle

CDPC Research model poster

CDPC research model poster

group shot
ADI audience
group shot
group shot