Health professionals - become an Agent of Change

Kate and consumer
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Health professionals are invited to participate in the first National Quality Collaborative for dementia

A CDPC project, ‘Agents of Change’ will help people living with dementia in the community maintain their quality of life with evidence based treatments in occupational therapy, exercise and carer support that delay functional decline.

The project team is recruiting health and aged care professionals, who work in organisations that provide care for people with dementia in the community, to be part of the National Quality Collaboratives.

These ‘implementation clinicians’ who form the Collaboratives will receive training and support to change practice.

Occupational therapy, exercise and carer support have been shown to improve the lives of people with mild to moderate symptoms of dementia. Implementation clinicians will work on implementing proven guidelines so that people with dementia in their organisations receive improved access to these treatments.

The project is rolling out three key recommendations from the Clinical Practice Guidelines and Principles of Care for People with for Dementia to improve the lives of people living with dementia:

1. People living in the community should be offered occupational therapy (reflecting evidence based programs)
2. People with dementia should be strongly encouraged to exercise
3. Carers and family should have access to respite, and to programs to support and optimise their ability to provide care for the person with dementia.

CDPC researcher Dr Kate Laver says these recommendations are backed by good evidence and have the potential to improve the quality of life for people with dementia and their families.

“The three guidelines focus on promoting independence, delaying functional decline and reducing carer stress and ill health and are relevant for the majority – up to 85% – of people with mild to moderate symptoms of dementia who are living in the community.

“For example, occupational therapy interventions delivered to both the person with dementia and their family carer and including home modification, education, problem solving and activity engagement are known to result in improved outcomes,” she said.

Dr Laver, a NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellow, is based in the Rehabilitation, Aged and Extended Care research group at Flinders University.

Phone Monica Cations on (08) 7221 8388 or email if you are a clinician who would like to take part in the National Quality Collaborative.