Dementia conferences boost knowledge share

Conference group pic

Leading dementia organisations, national and international keynote speakers, researchers, aged care workers, people with dementia and those caring for people with dementia came together at two leading national dementia conferences in Melbourne from 15-20 October this year.

The Australian Dementia Forum, an initiative of the NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research, on 15-17 October, highlighted outcomes from the Boosting Dementia Research Initiative and included achievements of many NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellows. The CDPC provided the attendees with an overview and latest findings from four projects during a two-hour session on the final day.

Alzheimer’s Australia had their National Dementia Conference, on 17-20 October, with the theme of “Be the Change”. At this conference Alzheimer’s Australia announced the official launch of Dementia Australia.

The conferences provided the opportunity for people with dementia and their carers to interact, learn about the latest in research and care while obtaining information on support and services, all in the one location.

CDPC Director and Chief Investigator, Professor Susan Kurrle, affirmed the importance of the national conferences for dissemination of the latest research and for people with dementia and their carers to access information.

“We were pleased to have taken part in the two leading national dementia conferences and showcase our research model that brings researchers, clinicians, consumers, government bodies, residential aged-care providers and peak consumer bodies to drive research.

The CDPC booth, one of over 30 exhibitor booths, received excellent interest for the resources available, in particular for the “Consumer Companion Guide” and the “Clinical Practice Guidelines and Principles of Care for People with Dementia”.

“These guides are part of implementing knowledge from research into practice, to improve the lives of people living with dementia in aged care facilities and at home,” Professor Kurrle said.

The “Consumer Companion Guide” was in great demand from aged care support workers and people diagnosed with dementia with its accessible language and practical tips on how to access services, strategies to manage symptoms and end-of-life care.

Professor Kurrle delivered a keynote address, “Recognising and responding to pain in people living with dementia”. Helen James prefaced the presentation with her personal experiences of managing her husband’s pain as his dementia progressed.

CDPC researchers had numerous poster and e-poster presentations and the following researchers delivered these oral presentations:

Ms Louise Heuzenroeder, “Consumer involvement in development of Clinical Practice Guidelines and Principles of Care for People with Dementia and Associated Consumer Companion Guide”

Dr Kate Laver, “What do members of the public believe regarding efficacy of treatments for dementia? A systematic review”

Dr Morag Taylor, “Slow gait speed is associated with executive function decline in older people with mild to moderate” dementia

Dr Suzanne Dyer, “The effects of different built environments in residential care on consumer-reported outcomes and healthcare resource use”

Dr Tracy Comans, “Demonstrating value based health care is an essential element of evaluating new and existing services”

Dr Craig Sinclair, “Substitute or supported decision-making? Learning from the lived experiences of people with dementia and their carers to guide practice, policy and law reform”

Claire O’Connor, “Working with you to “be the change”- Dementia reablement guidelines to support function in people with mild to moderate dementia”

Catherine Bateman, “Implementing a Hospital Dementia and Delirium care with Volunteers Program”

Karen Hutchinson, “Exploring the societal factors impacting families living with younger onset dementia”

The CDPC also held its Annual Meeting held on 17 October, which brought together more than 70 CDPC members to hear about our achievement as a Centre and included an interactive “data walk” discussion on our recent internal evaluation results.

At the annual meeting, consumer and CDPC research collaborator, Ron Sinclair, described his experience as a long-term dementia carer emphasising the importance of the latest knowledge of both care and services available.